The ruling Biju Janata Dal was leading in 249 Zilla Parishad Zones (ZPZ) seats while BJP candidates are ahead in 30 and Congress in 13 as per early trends of Odisha Panchayat polls, officials said on Saturday.
The counting of votes for 315 Zilla Parishad Zone seats began at 8 am in different block headquarters on Saturday under strict adherence to COVID-19 guidelines, State Election Commission (SEC) officials said.
Trends are available for 299 Zilla Parishad seats with BJD ahead in 249 seats, BJP in 32, Congress in 13, they said.
The counting for the remaining 307 ZP zone seats will be done on February 27 and 229 Zilla Parishad zone seats on February 29, they said.
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In case any discrepancies were found between the ballot paper account prepared by the presiding officer and actual ballot papers in the ballot box, the actual ballot papers found in the ballot box shall be taken into account and accordingly counting will be done and results announced, SEC secretary R N Sahu said.
The counting of votes will be done for three days from Saturday. The polling was held in five different phases on February 16, 18, 20, 22, and 24. The overall voter turnout was 78.6 per cent this time, slightly better than the 78.03 per cent in 2017.
Sahu said the counting is done under strict adherence to the COVID-19 guidelines and CCTV cameras installed in counting halls. Each counting table has one counting supervisor, two counting assistants and a fourth class employee. As per the process, the ballot papers are being segregated by colours following which the bundles of 50 are being counted.
A total of 2.2 lakh candidates contested in the elections. The SEC had declared 36,523 ward members, 126 sarpanch, 326 panchayat samiti members, and one Zilla Parishad member as uncontested winners.