Candidates’ spending limit for Panchayat polls enhanced in Odisha

The State Election Commission (SEC) of Odisha has enhanced poll expenditure limit for candidates contesting for posts of Sarpanch, Panchayat Samiti member and Zilla Parishad member.

SEC secretary R.N. Sahu issued three different orders last evening on enhancement of poll expenditure limit of candidates, use of vehicles by candidates and polling hours.

As per the order, the poll expenditure limit for Zilla Parishad (ZP) members has been enhanced from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 5 lakh, while each candidate contesting for Panchayat Samiti member and Sarpanch now can spend up to Rs 2 lakh.

Earlier, the election expenditure limit for the Sarpanch and Samiti member candidates was Rs 80,000.

Similarly, the candidates contesting for Zilla Parishad member can use up to five jeeps or cars and 10 two-wheelers, whereas the Panchayat Samiti member candidates can use maximum two jeeps or cars and five two-wheelers.

The candidates contesting for Sarpanch can use two jeeps or cars and five motorcycles. Use of auto-rickshaws has been allowed as well.

However, the ZP candidates will have to submit details of the vehicles to the sub-collector whereas Panchayat Samiti members and Sarpanch candidates will submit the details to Block Development Officer (BDO) concerned. The candidates will have to disengage the vehicles from services 36 hours prior to the polling.

The SEC has also extended the voting time. Now, the voting will be held from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Earlier, the polling was conducted from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m.

This time, there will be central counting at the block-level instead of booth level on the same day.

On November 6, various political parties had made recommendations to the SEC to extend the voting time and poll expenditure of the candidates.