Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
On April 1, the incumbent Government will have its last chance to celebrate with the peoples of the State the birthday of modern Orissa.
Elections to Orissa Legislative Assembly, which would form the next Government, will commence on April 16. Synchronized with Loksabha polls, the voting would be complete with the next phase taking place on April 23, according to notification issued yesterday by the Election Commission of India.
On Apri 16, peoples of Orissa shall express their preference for candidates in 10 out of 21 Loksabha constituencies namely Bargarh, Sundergarh, Sambalpur, Bolangir, Kalahandi, Nawarangpur, Kandhamal, Aska, Berhampur and Koraput while choosing MLAs simultaneously in 70 of Orissa’s 147 Assembly constituencies coming within their respective limits. On the 2nd leg on April 23, the rest 11 Loksabha Constituencies namely Keonjhar, Mayurbhanj, Balasore, Bhadrak, Jajpur, Dhenkanal, Cuttack, Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur, Puri and Bbhubaneswar will take votes along with the rest 77 Assembly constituencies comprising their areas.
The District Collectors would act as Returning Officers in all but the Berhampur Loksabha segment where the responsibility is vested upon the Project Director of D.R.D.A., Ganjam.
From now up to March 30, political parties will find time to finalize their candidates for the first phase and up to April 4 for the second phase. Nomination papers would be scrutinized on March 31 and April 6 respectively. Withdrawal of nomination papers is set to April 2 and 8 on which dates the final list of candidates would be placed officially before the voters for their verdict on April 16 and 23 respectively..
So the month of April will virtually give birth to the next government of Orissa allowing the EC to incubate upon it till May 16 when counting would unveil the voters’ choice.
How the peoples shall react to members of the present ministry may then be discernible, but with yesterday’s notification the EC has clipped their wings. They cannot use their blazing status symbol – the red-light vehicles and cannot call the State officials to their respective residences or office chambers. They cannot lunch any official program. They cannot unveil any plaque with their names engraved thereon, which, so far, they had been doing at the cost of the state exchequer.