Stage set for the polling day of Zilla Parishad, Panchayat Samiti

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The district’s rural areas are all set for Tuesday’s elections to Zilla Parishad (ZP) and panchayat Samiti (PS). Counting will be held at 13 tehsil headquarters on Wednesday. The credibility of cabinet ministers Anil Deshmukh and Sunil Kedar and leaders of BJP Nitin Gadkari and Devendra Fadnavis is at stake in view of the current volatile political situation.

There are 58 circles or seats in Nagpur ZP while there are 116 seats in the PS. For the election, there are 1,828 polling booths. 182 centres were designated model centres out of these. During the voting, approximately 14.19 lakh voters are eligible to cast votes between 7.30 am and 5.30 pm. Of the 58 ZP circles, 10 are reserved for SC, 7 for ST and 16 for OBCs, leaving 25 general category seats. Fifty per cent of seats are reserved for women in all these categories. So, for the fairer sex, there are 29 seats. For these seats, there are 270 candidates in the fray, while the PS polls are contested by 497 candidates. For their respective areas, 13 tehsildars were appointed as assistant returning officers (AROs). For 58 circles, a total of 225 zones were created. In total, 2,012 control units and 4,024 ballot units will be used in the election, while, if any, 10 per cent of machines were kept ready to replace defective ones. In these votes, there will be no VVPATs.

For these elections, Congress and the NCP have a pre-poll coalition. Congress contests 42 ZP seats while the NCP contests 16 seats. Candidates for Congress are in 97 PS seats in the fray, while the corresponding NCP figure is 19. Shiv Sena and BJP have a different contest. Apparently, Sena did not nominate its candidates in a couple of seats to support candidates from Congress-NCP. Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) has applied for 20 ZP seats while 13 Prahar candidates are in the fray as well. For these elections, Deshmukh, Kedar, Fadnavis, Gadkari, Sena supporter MLA Ashish Jaiswal and others campaigned extensively. BJP had twenty-one members, Sena eight, Congress 19, NCP seven and smaller parties three before the earlier body was disbanded. With the support of smaller parties, BJP and Sena ruled the bodies. Nonetheless, an alliance is expected this time between Congress, NCP and Sena, and BJP has little chance to retain power.

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