The state election commission has decided to hold panchayat election for 192 Zila Parishad, 1,280 Panchayat Samiti, 2,436 Panchayat pradhan and Up-pradhans each and 15,438 gram panchayat members of 10 districts in three phase on January 1, 3 and 5 January, 2016. However, poll dates for panchayat elections in Kangra and tribal Lahaul and Spiti districts are not announced yet.

The polling would be held through traditional paper ballots, however the state election commission has provided option of NOTA to the voters.

State Election Commissioner T G Negi, while addressing press here revealed that filing of nominations would be done on December 15, 16 and 17, scrutiny would take place on December 18, the last date of withdrawal of candidature would be December 21 and the final list of candidates would be published on the same day while the list of polling stations would be published by December 15.

Every voter would cast five votes to elect the Panchayat Pradhan, Up-Pradhan, Panchayat member, Panchayat Samiti and Zila Parishad member from their respective Panchayats.

The counting of votes of Panchayat Samiti and Zila Parishad members would be taken up on January 7 at respective block headquarters, while the counting of votes for Pradhan, Up-Pradhan and Panchayat members would be taken up after the close of the polling on January 8, 2016.

As many as 15,438 polling booths would be set up for 36, 77, 858 electorates, including 18, 77, 983 males and 17, 99, 872 females voters in the panchayat elections, and commission has deployed 1 lakh polling and security personnel and 58 observers to ensure free and fair polls.

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Rahul Bhandari is Editor of TheNewsHimachal and has been part of the digital world for last 15 years.