Two-phase ZP, TP polls on Feb 13, 20

Two-phase ZP, TP polls on Feb 13, 20

Elections to zilla and taluk panchayats in the state will be held in two phases on February 13 and 20. Counting of votes would be on February 23.

The elections were announced by the State Election Commission soon after Karnataka High Court dismissed a batch of petitions questioning the legality of the reservation of local bodies.

The model code of conduct has come into force with immediate effect and the state government has been barred from announcing new policy initiatives.

The model code of conduct would not be applicable to urban areas. However, it would be applicable to rural areas and the 53 municipal bodies which were recently upgraded as urban local bodies.

Addressing a press conference in Bengaluru, State Election Commissioner (SEC) P N Srinivasachary said that the Kalaburagi High Court bench has stayed the elections in Vijayapura, Bidar, Kalaburagi, Yadgir and Raichur districts. Barring these five districts, elections would be held in the rest. However, in the barred districts, elections to taluk panchayats would be held, he added.

The Commissioner said the Kalaburagi bench may  hear the petitions pertaining to the barred districts in a couple of days.

In case the petitions are dismissed, then elections in these five districts would be held along with other ZPs.

Elections to Soraba taluk panchayat, is yet to complete its term, would not be held now.

For the Phase I polls, nomination papers would be accepted from February 25 and for the Phase II, from February 1.

Srinivasachary said that electronic voting machines would be used. EVMs for ZP polls would be marked with pink paper for easy identification, while those to be used for the TP polls would be marked with white paper. For the first time in local body elections, None of the Above (NOTA) option may be exercised by the voters.

The campaign expenditure ceiling for ZP contestants is Rs one lakh, and for TP nominees Rs 50,000.

Replying to questions, the Commissioner said  by-elections to three Legislative Assembly seats are also on February 13 but this would not hamper the ZP/TP poll schedule. Hebbal, Bidar and Deodurga assembly constituencies are facing by-polls. While Hebbal falls under Bengaluru city limits, the ZP/TP elections in Deodurga and Bidar are on February 20.

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