Model Code of Conduct issued for Odisha panchayat polls

The panchayat polls are likely to be held before March 2022

The State Election Commission (SEC) of Odisha has issued the Model Code of Conduct to be followed by the candidates and the parties during the upcoming three-tier panchayat polls.

In a 12-page note, the SEC said that the code will be in force from the date of issue of notification for the elections till the counting of votes is completed.

The panchayat polls are likely to be held before March 2022.

As per the code, parties and candidates will refrain from resorting to criticism of the private life of their rivals during the campaign. The criticism should be confined to policies and programmes of all contestants or their parties in the elections.

Stating that any kind of criticism based on unverified allegations or distortion would be considered as a violation, the SEC said it would be viewed with a serious note. The candidates and the parties were also told to refrain from alluring the voters in any form.

Comments, speeches and campaigns in any form that would aggravate differences, create hatred or cause tension among different castes and communities and religious and linguistic groups must be avoided, it said.

Election meetings or campaigns would not be allowed in any religious and government institution. Campaigning would not be allowed between 8 pm and 7 am, and campaigning with a public address system will come to an end 36 hours before the polling date.

The elections would be held in five phases and the dates would be announced after a meeting with all the political parties, a source in the SEC said on December 20.

Total 853 zilla parishad seats will go to the polls, in which candidates will be able to contest with party symbols. For 91,916 wards and 6,794 panchayats, elections will be held on a non-party basis.

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