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Panchayat polls to be held on June 25

Panjim: Goa government on Wednesday announced that elections to 186 village panchayats will be held on June 25 while it has also reduced the number of days for campaigning.The move comes even as the five-year term of the panchayats end on May 20 and based on which State Election Commission had earlier proposed holding the election on May 21.“The panchayat elections will be conducted on June 25. We have also decided to reduce the canvassing period from 15 to 10 days. The code of conduct will be enforced 20 to 22 days prior to holding the elections,” Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar told a press conference after chairing a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.He justified that since majority of government employees will proceed on leave during this period and the State witnessed a series of bureaucratic reshuffle in the last few days, polls had to be postponed. Also, busy schedule during the State Assembly election period from January 4 till the announcement of the results on March 11 was yet another reason attributed to the delay.
“There was a lot of movement of officers this time (code of conduct during the State election), many vehicles were deployed on duty and squads were formed. Every officer from every department was drawn for duty. Because of the lengthier election code and large number of officers pulled in for election duty, there was a lot of disruption… another reason is as government has already sanctioned leave to many employees and they have already left for those places (some are out of station). This is the only time they can get leave as their children are on summer vacation,” he stated citing reason why government was forced to delay panchayat polls.“At least 10 per cent of population go on leave during this period. There are chances that with so many absentees during elections, voting percentage reduces.”“We have to hold proper polls and not just conduct it. Holding polls by month-end is neither conducive nor possible,” the CM said explaining that government does not intend to conduct haphazard polling.He ruled out apprehensions that rains will play a spoilsport. Asked whether EVMs would be used for voting, he said it’s the discretion of the State election commission. [H]

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