Panchayat polls deferred in Chitrakonda
Bhubaneswar: With the left wing extremists threatening tribals in Malkangiri not to vie for polls and neither vote, the State Election Commission on Sunday called for postponement of the elections in Chitrakonda block of the district.
In a notification the SEC has stated that the polls for two Zilla parishad Zone-I and II along with 18 panchayat zones will be stayed put. An order in this regard was taken after inspection of reports jointly prepared by the District Collector and SP asked the commission to annul the elections as per the schedule in all these areas on security grounds.
“The law and order situation in the block is not satisfactory according to a report filed by the district administration. So, we have decided to postpone the elections in Chitrakonda block,” SEC secretary R N Sahu said.
Earlier the SEC had said that dates for polls in the far cut off areas of the district like Chitrakonda would be taken after January 21 and reports from the local SP and Collector.
The DGP had also visited the district on Saturday and had assured that people would definitely go for vote barring any fear of the terror that the red ultras have been smearing on the areas for last some months. He urged people to have faith on security and turn out for the elections.
It is worthwhile to mention here that the Maoist outfits have been reigning terror in several key cut off areas of the district through warning posters ordering people to stay away from polls or else face death and penalties in ‘praja court’(kangaroo court of the Maoists).
The block has heavy Moist presence with its 222 wards, 18 GP and Panchayat Samitis. Fearing Maoist attack, not a single nomination was filed for the posts of sarpanchs and ward members in the nine panchayats inside the cut-off areas. Last week, the Maoists caught five poll officials and producing them in a praja court in the cut-off area. They were subsequently freed with a warning not to come to the area in future for poll-related work.
The block was recently in news for the biggest anti-naxal operations in state history as more than 30 left wing extremists were gunned down during a joint operations by Odisha and AP police.