Bhubaneswar: The State Election Commission (SEC) on Thursday announced not to conduct elections to urban local bodies in the nine Western Odisha districts along with others on September 19 in view of the ongoing agitation demanding establishment of a bench of High Court in that region.
"The decision not to hold elections to 25 ULBs spread over nine districts in western region on September 19 was taken as per the suggestions of the district collectors and superintendents of police," SEC Ajit Tripathy told reporters.
Tripathy said, "Elections to the urban local bodies in Bolangir, Bargarh, Deogarh, Jharsuguda, Kalahandi, Nuapada, Sundergarh, Sonepur and Sambalpur districts have been postponed due to the ongoing agitation".
The SEC said the next step on holding the elections in the nine districts would be taken only after analysing the legal issues.
Filing of nomination papers was completely disrupted in the region after the Central Action Committee of the All Western Odisha Bar Association (AWOBA) intensified agitation since August 20. The lawyers got support from all the major political parties in favour of their demand.
As the lawyers agitated, the government offices and judicial courts in the nine districts remained closed since nine days. They too staged relay dharnas in front of the RDC (revenue divisional commissioner) office at Sambalpur.
All the major parties have also called for a boycott of ULB polls in western Odisha demanding establishment of a permanent bench of the Orissa High Court.
Official sources said not a single nomination paper was filed in 20 ULBs in nine districts. At least six districts including Balangir, Deogarh, Jharsuguda, Nuapada, Sambalpur and Sonepur reported a complete boycott of nomination process.
However, in Sundargarh, Kalahandi and Bargarh districts, four ULBs reported filing of nomination papers while six urban bodies reported boycott.
Now, the ULB polls would be held in 58 notified area councils, 32 municipalities and one municipal corporation (Berhampur) on September 19.