Jharkhand to hold four-phase panchayat polls in May
Jharkhand will have a four-phase panchayat election in May.
State governor Ramesh Bais on Saturday gave approval for the notification of the polls which will see the first phase commencing on May 14, followed by the second and third phases on May 19 and 24, respectively, and the last leg on May 27.
The polls, which had been delayed by nearly two years because of the Covid pandemic, will see election of 4,345 mukhiyas, 5,341 panchayat samiti members and 536 zilla parishads.
“With the current government facing scathing criticism by tribals over delay in defining a domicile policy for recruitment in government posts and allegation by Opposition over illegal mining and poor law and order situation in the state, the election would be a litmus test for the Hemant Soren-led government. Though panchayat polls are not held on party lines, everyone knows that the candidates receive patronage from different parties during the poll and the results would tell if the ruling alliance still enjoys popularity among rural voters,” said a poll analyst and faculty in Jamshedpur Cooperative College.
Jharkhand state election commissioner and retired IAS, D. K. Tiwari, told the media that a total of 1,96,16,504 electorates (1,00,70,721 male, 95,45,702 female and 81 others) would be casting votes in 53,480 polling booths.
“Counting of votes for the first and second phase would be held on May 17 and May 22 respectively, while the counting for the third and fourth phase would take place on May 31,” said Tiwari.
Sources in the election commission said that the phases have been drawn based on the number of security forces available in any district, the number of voters, and the sensitivity of the polling stations.
Various types of cells have been formed in all the districts for the three-tier panchayat elections. Senior officers of the districts have been deputed as in-charge for all the cells.
To keep the ballot boxes safe after voting in panchayat elections, strong rooms have been prepared at district headquarters while district police have been directed to ensure proper security arrangements near the strong room and in villages going to polls.
The panchayat polls would be conducted on ballot papers instead of EVM and nearly 50,000 ballot boxes have been procured from neighbouring states.
The tenure of the panchayat bodies ended in December 2020. After this, due to the special provisions of the state government, the system was being operated through executive committees in more than 4,000 panchayats and zilla parishads across the state.
Elections were held for the first time in the state in 2010 for the first time after ten years of the formation of the state. After this, Panchayat elections were held in 2015.