Maoist camp busted, explosives seized in Bargarh

The District Voluntary Force and CRPF jawans on Friday busted a Maoist camp at Gandhamardan hill range near Maryadapali under Paikmal police limits in Bargarh district.

Suspecting over strong presence of Maoists in the hill range, the jawans conducted frequent combing operations.

Informing this to mediapersons, Padampur SDPO Laxminarayan Panda said no one was present in the camp and there was no exchange of fire. He said the security forces have seized one tiffin bomb, one hand grenade, 8 kg of gun powder, 10 metres of safety fuse, and 200 metres of electric wire besides other materials.

Security forces have also recovered one inverter, a bow and 12 arrow heads indicating the change of strategy of the Maoists and their shifting to traditional weapons.

Although the security forces have been combing the hill range regularly forcing the Maoists to be on the run, the seizure has exposed the fact that the Maoists are trying to reestablish their base in the hill range, which is close to Chhattisgarh and also provides passage to Kalahandi, Balangir and Nuapada

IIM-Sambalpur holds first convocation

Indian Institute of Management, Sambalpur on Thursday conducted its first convocation. SBI Chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya told students do ordinary things in an extraordinary way. Bhattacharya is also the Chairperson of the Board of Governors of IIM-Sambalpur. Addressing the convocation, she said reputation of an institution is shaped by the manner in which its students behave and conduct themselves. “It is the students who have the power to make or break the reputation of a new institution,” she said.

Bhattacharya, who is also the Chairperson of the Board of Governors of IIM-Sambalpur, said the students.

The chief guest, Odisha Chief Secretary, A P Padhi, said the state has emerged as a major educational hub of eastern India with several institutions imparting courses in humanities, science, commerce, engineering, medicine and management.

Odisha is home to a host of reputed educational institutions like AIIMS, IIT, NISER & IISER, IIM, Sambalpur is a new addition in the educational firmament of the state, he said.

Setting up of an IIM at Sambalpur has triggered new hopes and aspirations, especially, among the youth of Odisha. After globalisation, pursuing a career in management has become a major option before most of the students, he said. Describing India as the most happening destination in the world, Padhi said, India has vast potential for application of managerial skills for development.

Demonetisation has marked a new beginning for the economy, the chief secretary said describing the linking of banking and mobile infrastructure to AADHAR as the new digital economy, which has vast opportunities.

Newly appointed director of IIM-S, Mahadeo Jaiswal and Director of IIM-Indore, which is the mentor institute of IIM-S, Prof R T Krishnan also spoke on the occasion. While 45 students received certificates on the occasion, one student was presented gold medal during the convocation.

Chhattisgarh BJP Leader, 8 Others arrested by Kalahandi Police

In a big development, which further proved the strong involvement of Chhattisgarh Government in panchayat polls in Odisha, Lokesh Kawadia, Secretary of BJP NGO Cell, has been arrested by Kalahandi Police on the allegations of distributing cash during panchayat polls.

Lokesh was detained by the cops in Thuamula, Rampur in Kalahandi district last evening. The police have seized 4 vehicles (including 3 bearing Chhattisgarh number plates) and Rs 2.11 lakh cash from him.

8 other associated of Lokesh, have been arrested too. The cops have confirmed the cash distribution in the area by the BJP leaders.

Sarpanch candidate dies in motorcycle mishap in Sambalpur

A Sarpanch candidate of Paruabhadi gram panchayat in Kuchinda block of the district and one of his supporters died after their motorcycle hit a roadside tree at Patrapali village under Kuchinda police limits late on Tuesday.

The deceased Sarpanch aspirant has been identified as Mani Pradhan (35) and his supporter Sudhir Patel (40), both from Paruabhadi.

The incident occurred while the duo was returning to their village after having dinner at a ‘dhaba’ near Patrapali.

Though they were rushed to Kuchinda Sub-Divisional Hospital by the locals, doctors declared them brought dead.

The election, scheduled to be held in the gram panchayat on February 21, has been countermanded following the death of the Sarpanch candidate. The election for the posts of Zilla Parishad member, Panchayat Samiti member and ward members, however, will be held as per schedule.

Kuchinda Sub-Collector Chanchal Rana said they will inform the State Election Commission about the death of the candidate and the Commission will announce the new schedule of the election.

Odisha Panchayat elections 2017: Polling Date, Counting of Votes, and Results

The three-tier panchayat polls in Odisha began Monday amid cases of poll violence reported in different parts of the state. The state is scheduled to hold the Panchayat elections in five phases between February 13 and February 21. The timing of polling is 7 am to 12:00 pm. On polling days, counting of votes starts from 1 pm till the completion. The first phase polling was held in 188 Zilla Parishad seats spread over 65 blocks in 29 districts where 716 candidates contested.

Gram Panchayat Elections in State of Odisha in Year 2017:

Panchayat Election Posts:

Sarpanch, Panch, Ward Members, Zila Parishad Members and Others

Total number of seats:

The State Election Commission (SEC) had in December announced the dates for elections to the Panchayati Raj bodies. Elections are to be held for 853 zilla parishad members, 6,802 sarpanches, 6,801 panchayat samiti members and 92,052 ward members. Half the seats have been reserved for women.

Polling Dates:

First phase: February 13

Second Phase: February 15

Third phase: February 17

Fourth phase: February 19

Fifth phase:  February 21

Political parties:

The three major political parties contesting the panchayat polls in Odisha are BJP, Congress and the ruling BJD.

Number of Eligible Voters

At least 2.6 Crore people will vote in the ongoing odisha panchayat elections.

First phase results:

Despite the ruling BJD deploying a huge line-up of filmstars for a month-long campaign, opposition BJP posted stunning results in the first phase of panchayat polls, winning or leading in at least 68 of the 188 zilla parishad seats. BJD, meanwhile, managed an impressive show in nearly 100 seats. The BJP, which won just 36 of the total 854 zilla parishad seats in the 2012 panchayat polls, seems set to do better with four more rounds of polling remaining till February 19. 71 per cent of the 58,28,446 voters exercised their franchise in the first phase of polls.

More details:

The zilla parishad seats are contested on party symbols. Although BJD was expected to do well, BJP sprang a surprise, sweeping the zilla parishad election in Mayurbhanj, Bargarh and Kalahandi districts. It is likely to replace the Congress as the Number 2 party in phase one. Congress won around 20 zilla parishad seats.

Expenditure limits for candidates had been raised earlier, according to which a person running for the zilla parishad could spend up to Rs 2 lakh, while the limit for a sarpanch or samiti candidate was set to Rs 80,000.

Candidates filed their nominations from January 11 to 17 and the papers were verified on January 18.