ECI Team To Reach Odisha Today For Review Of Poll Preparedness Amid Talks Of Early Elections

Bhubaneswar: A team of Election Commission of India (ECI) is slated to reach Odisha capital on Tuesday evening amid talks about likelihood of early elections in the state.

During their visit to the state, members of the ECI team are scheduled to hold meeting with all district Collectors on Wednesday.

During the meeting to be held at Kharavela Bhawan, the team would discuss matters related to preparations for the next elections in the state. The Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Odisha and other officials will be present at the meeting where electoral rolls and other arrangements would be taken stock of.

Apart from reviewing the status of voters’ list preparedness and revision, the team would also examine sensitive booths and law and order situation in different districts of the state.

Stating that preparing for elections is a long and arduous process, an official said that all EVMs and VVPATs will be examined in the first week of October and the process will continue till November 15.

Describing the whole exercise as a normal process, CEO Nikunja Dhal had earlier stated that it has got nothing to do with early elections.“We have to train people, prepare and print manuals and acquire different materials. We are on schedule to conduct the election as per the schedule to be announced by ECI,” he said.

Since EVMs and VVPATs will be examined till November 15, elections cannot be held before that.

It may be noted here that the ECI delegation had visited Andhra Pradesh, where Assembly polls are due in April 2024 along with Odisha, on August 3 and directed collectors to ensure inclusive and error-free electoral rolls.

Different teams of the ECI are now visiting various states ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha alections. One team is currently reviewing arrangements in West Bengal and the same team is scheduled to reach Odisha this evening.

In another significant development ahead of the ECI team’s visit, all district collectors have arrived in Bhubaneswar for a high-level meeting being chaired by Development Commissioner Anu Garg at Kharavela Bhawan on Tuesday.

Sources said Chief Secretary Pradeep Kumar Jena, who was to chair the crucial meeting, is now down with dengue fever. Therefore, the Development Commissioner is conducting the meeting.

Progress of different schemes and programmes of all major departments, including Panchayati Raj, Rural Development, School and Mass Education and Women and Child Development, are being reviewed at the meeting.

While the focus is on the implementation of housing schemes and drinking water programmes in the districts, emphasis is also being laid on steps to ensure the success of 5T initiative and ‘Mo Sarkar,’ sources said.

Notably, preparations of the ruling BJD and at the government level had given credence to possibility of early elections in the state. The government approved several new schemes, including Mo Ghara Yojana, the Mission Shakti Scooty Yojana, Ama Odisha Nabin Odisha and NUA (Nutana Unnata Abhilasha) Odisha scheme recently to cater to all sections of the society. It also approved a proposal to provide infrastructural support to create banking facilities in 4,373 unbanked gram panchayats of the state.

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