July 23, 2011 2:48:22 am
More than 10,000 village panchayats will go to polls in November-December this year,a year ahead of the Assembly elections scheduled for December 2012.
State Election Commissioner K C Kapoor told The Indian Express that the Commission has started the process of conducting elections in 10,231 of the total 13,000 panchayats in the state this year.
Around two-third of the states voters will exercise their franchise and close to one lakh members,including sarpanchs,will be elected. Around three-four lakh contestants will participate in the polls,he said.
We have informed the government to let us know the convenient dates for elections during November-December as the term of the present bodies will end on December 31,by which the new bodies will have to be elected, Kapoor said. For the first time we have designated powers to the newly appointed prant officers instead of the district collectors to look after election in villages of two talukas. The prant officers will appoint the Returning Officer (RO) for all villages, he added.
Over the scarcity of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs),Kapoor said: At present,we have only 40,000 EVMs and are purchasing around 8,000 more. But we will require around two to 2.5 lakh machines for the polls and so have written to the state Chief Electoral Officer to send a formal request to the Election Commission of India to provide us with EVMs.
If we do not get the required number of EVMs,then we will opt for ballots. We have suggested phase-wise poll,but political parties want it on the same day, he said.
Three municipalities and some other local bodies will also go for elections along with the village panchayats this year-end.
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