Panchayat Polls: SEC Bans Liquor Sale 48 Hrs Ahead Of Polling

Bhubaneswar: The State Election Commission (SEC) has published statutory notification for holding of general elections for the posts in the three-tier Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) to be held in five phases from February 16 to 24.

To make the elections free, fair, smooth, and peaceful the SEC has prohibited the sale and distribution of liquor 48 hours ahead of polls till the day following the voting day. Officials have been directed to ensure that liquor is neither sold nor served at hotel, nor distributed in the region where the voting will take place.

Transportation of intoxicants to the poll-bound regions during the stipulated period has been banned by the SEC.

Entry into polling booths with licensed firearms or other weapons and moving near polling booths while in possession of firearms or other weapons has been prohibited by the SEC.

No one except authorized persons are allowed to stay near the polling booths with effect from 5 pm of 14 February 2022 to 5 pm of 1st March 2022.

As per the SEC order, no one can stay in the polling booths or polling station area, except for polling officers, police officers, and employees deployed to maintain law and order.

The SEC has asked the State government to declare the day of voting as paid leave for all government employees, employees of private institutions, and employees of government-approved institutions for exercising their franchise in the panchayat elections.

Employees whose workplaces are far from polling stations will get three days special CL to exercise their franchise.

Similarly, the SEC has ordered the State government to declare the polling day as a public holiday to enable the employees working in various institutions or industries in rural areas to exercise their franchise in the elections.

Further, the SEC has directed government offices, private offices, commercial establishments and commercial establishments in the areas going to polls to declare the polling day as a holiday to ensure that all employees get an opportunity to vote.

The SEC has written to the State government that if judicial courts exist in the poll-bound areas, the courts will also remain closed on the polling day.