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Haryana Panchayat polls to be held in January

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Chandigarh: The much-awaited Panchayat polls in Haryana will be held next year in three phases on January 10, 17 and 24, State Election Commission said today.

Addressing a press conference in Panchkula, near here this evening, State Election Commissioner Rajiv Sharma said with the announcement of the elections, Model Code of Conduct has come into force in the area of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) where the polls will be conducted.

The election process would be completed by February 15, 2016.

He said that as the Supreme Court has upheld the new Panchayati Raj Amendment Act, 2015, now elections to the PRIs would be held as per the new Act.

Sharma said that the candidates who have already filed nominations as per the amended Act need not to file fresh nominations, but have to file fresh declarations or affidavits along with the required documents before the Returning Officer concerned during the period specified for the same.

He said that the poll to elect panches, sarpanches of gram panchayats and members of panchayat samitis would be held in three phases.

“There are a total of 6,198 Gram Panchayats, 126 Panchayat Samitis and 21 Zila Parishads in the state. Polls would be conducted for 416 members of 21 Zila Parishads, 3001 posts of 126 Panchayat Samitis and 6,198 and 62,492 posts of sarpanches and panches respectively,” he said.

On December 10, the State Election Commission had said that it would soon set in motion the process for conduct of Panchayat polls after the Supreme Court upheld a new law in Haryana mandating minimum educational qualifications as a prerequisite for the contestants.

Earlier, the polls were to be held on October 4, 11 and 18.

The model code was put on hold from September 24 in view of the Supreme Court hearing the petition challenging the validity of Haryana’s Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Act, 2015 which fixes matriculation as essential qualification for general candidates contesting panchayat polls.

The qualification for women (general) and Scheduled Caste candidates has been fixed at Class VIII. .