Chandigarh: The Haryana State Election Commission on Thursday announced schedule for the municipal elections, to be held next month, with minimum qualification and functional toilet at place of residence of the candidates among the eligibility criteria for those seeking to contest.
State Election Commissioner Rajiv Sharma said polling would be held on May 22 between 7 AM and 5 PM and votes would be counted at all polling stations after the polls close, the same day.
Results would be declared immediately after the counting, he added.
As many as 15,20,456 voters are eligible to exercise their franchise, Sharma said at a press conference in Panchkula where he announced the schedule.
Sharma said the Model Code of Conduct has come into force with immediate effect, in the municipal areas where polls are to be conducted.
A person would be disqualified who fails to pay arrears of the electricity bills; who has not passed matriculation or its equivalent examination from any recognised institution or Board; or who fails to submit self-declaration that he has a functional toilet at his residence, the SEC said.
He said minimum qualification for a women candidate or a candidate belongs to Scheduled Caste would be middle standard (VIII) pass. In case of a women candidate from SC category the minimum qualification would be Class V pass.
Referring to the new amendments, Sharma said a person would also be disqualified who has not been convicted but charges have been framed in a criminal case for an offence punishable with imprisonment for not less than 10 years; who fails to pay arrear of any kind due on him to any Primary Agriculture Co-operative Society, District Central Co-operative Bank and District Primary Co-operative Agriculture Rural Development Bank.
Sharma said notice inviting nominations will be published on April 29. The nomination papers could be filed from May 5 to 11, list of nomination papers received shall be posted from May 5 to 11, and their scrutiny on May 12 and last date for withdrawal would be May 13.
He said the polls would be held in 385 wards of 15 Municipal Councils - Charkhi Dadri, Hansi, Kaithal, Narnaul, Tohana, Fatehabad ,Sohna, Bahadurgarh, Narwana, Jind, Thanesar, Hodal, Palwal, Mandi Dabwali, and Gohana.
Besides, polls would be held in 436 wards of 28 Municipal Committees- Naraingarh, Cheeka, Rajound, Barwala, Samalkha, Mahendergarh, Nangal Chaudhary, Bhuna, Ratia, Jhajjar, Safidon, Uchana, Tarori, Nissing, Gharaunda, Assandh, Ladwa, Pehowa, Shahabad, Ferozepur Zhirka, Nuh, Punhana, Bawal, Meham, Kalanwali, Ellenabad, Rania, and Ganaur.
He said by-elections would also be held in ward No.9, Municipal Corporation, Panipat; ward No.1, Municipal Council Rewari; and ward No.7, Municipal Committee, Kalanaur where 25,145 eligible voters would exercise their right.
About 2076 EVMs would be used in the process. He said symbols would be allotted to the candidates on May 13, after 3 PM and the list of contestants and that of polling stations would be posted the same day.
He made it clear that no officer or official associated with the election work would be transferred till completion of the election process.
Referring to the expenditure limit fixed for various municipalities, Sharma said a candidate or his authorised election agent would incur Rs 2.10 lakh in case of Municipal Corporation, Rs 1 lakh for Municipal Council and Rs 75,000 for Municipal Committee elections. He said 209 seats in Councils and 261 in Committees have been reserved for the candidates of different categories like Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes and the women.
Out of 1448 polling stations, 247 are sensitive and 139 hyper-sensitive. About 6300 polling personnel and 141 Duty Magistrates or supervisors will be deputed, he added.
Sharma said the SEC will appoint Election Observers in each district to ensure smooth conduct of elections. He said that for the purpose of effective monitoring of the election expenditure of the candidate, Expenditure Observers would also be appointed in each district. He said that videography of sensitive or hyper-sensitive polling stations would be done, if required.
For making elaborate security management during election process, he said the Home Department has been requested to deploy adequate police personnel.
Highlighting the role of media in a democracy, Sharma urged the mediapersons to render their co-operation by refraining from allowing any undue publicity to a candidate in lieu of money or any other consideration.
"The Commission is aware of the menace of paid news and thus solicits the help and co-operation of media, which is the best way to tackle it," he added.