Vijayawada: People will exercise their voting right in the Phase-1 of the gram panchayat polls in the state on Tuesday. The election will be conducted for 2,723 sarpanchs and 20,157 ward members in 12 districts of the state barring Vizianagaram on Tuesday.
While the State Election Commission has notified elections for 3,249 sarpanch posts and also for 32,502 ward members in 3,249 gram panchayats, people have elected their village heads unanimously in 525 gram panchayats. The elections for 12,185 ward members too have been unopposed. With no nominations filed at the Velicharla gram panchayat in Nellore district for the sarpanch post, 2,723 gram panchayats are up for grabs in the Tuesday’s elections. With no nominations filed for 160 ward members, the election will be held for 20,157 ward members only.
As many as 7,506 contestants are vying for 2,723 sarpanch posts and 43,601 contestants for 20,157 ward member positions — making the election a two-candidate fight at most places.
Panchayat raj and rural development principal secretary Gopala Krishna Dwivedi told media persons that they had completed making all requisite arrangements for the conduct of gram panchayat polls in phase-1 on February 9 in the state.
“We appeal to all the voters to take part in the elections by exercising their franchise in a democratic spirit. We have introduced the option of NOTA which means ‘None of the Above’ to enable the voter to officially register a vote of rejection for all contestants in the fray. However, the number of votes for NOTA will not be counted,” he said.
Polling will be held from 6.30 am to 3.30 pm and the counting of votes will start from 4 pm onwards and the results will be declared soon after completion of counting of votes by late in the night.
Elaborate arrangements have been made by both the state government and the State Election Commission for the conduct of gram panchayat polls. The elections will be conducted at 29,732 polling stations. Of these, 3,458 have been considered sensitive and 3,594 hypersensitive.
The authorities have arranged ballot boxes of three sizes — 18,608 big-sized boxes, 8,503 medium-sized and 21,338 small. About 1,130 officials have been appointed as returning officers stage-1, 3,249 officials as returning officers stage-2, 1,432 officials as assistant returning officers, 33,533 as presiding officers and 44,392 as polling staff for the conduct of polls in a free and fair manner. About 519 zonal officers, 1,121 route officers and 3,047 micro observers have been appointed.
The authorities have arranged face masks, hand sanitisers and hand gloves at the polling stations as per Covid-19 protocol for the polling staff and the voters. In case any polling staff found to be Covid-19 positive, PPE kits are also arranged.
The state police have made elaborate security arrangements for the conduct of polling without any untoward incidents. Thirteen officials, one each for a district, from the office of commissioner and panchayat raj department have been sent to be in touch with district officials to help them conduct the polls while a command and control centre is set up at the commissioner’s office to keep a close tab on the elections.
Polling to be held in districts and revenue divisions accordingly: Srikakulam-Srikakulam, Tekkali and Palakonda; Visakhapatnam-Anakapalli; East Godavari-Kakinada and Peddapuram; West Godavari-Narasapuram; Krishna-Vijayawada; Guntur-Tenali; Prakasam-Ongole; Nellore-Kavali;
Kurnool-Nandyal and Kurnool; Anantapur-Kadiri; Kadapa-Jammalamadugu, Kadapa and Rajampet and Chittoor-Chittoor....