Panchayat polls in Jan, candidates need no education

Representative image.

As many as 9,000 panchayats will go to polls in Rajasthan in January after the state government abolished the condition of minimum educational qualification for sarpanches.

This will be the first panchayat polls after the Rajasthan Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was passed by Congress government in February 2019, two months after the change of guard happened in Rajasthan.

As per the Bill, no minimum education criterion for panchayat and civic polls candidates will be required now. The previous Vasundhara Raje-led government had introduced education criterion in 2015 which required a candidate to pass Class 10 for contesting Zila Parishad, panchayat samiti and municipal elections.

For contesting elections for Sarpanch of a panchayat in scheduled and other than scheduled areas, it was mandatory to pass Class 5 and 8, respectively. The state government this time has abolished the condition of minimum educational qualification for sarpanches.

The polls to elect sarpanches and panches will be held in three phases on January 17, 22 and 29. The polling will be held from 8 am to 5 pm. The counting will be held on the same day. As many as 34,525 polling booths had been set up for elections to 9,171 panchayats across 33 districts, said state Election Commissioner P S Mehra on Thursday.

Interestingly, this will be for the first time that EVM machines would be used for the election of sarpanches. However, the election of panches would be conducted through ballot papers.

As many as 3.08 crore voters, including 14.7 crore women, will exercise their franchise in the elections.

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