Several incidents of violence, mostly in the Guntur district, disrupted the fourth and final round of elections for gram panchayats in Andhra Pradesh on Sunday, which saw 81.78 per cent of polls.
Police filed charges lati in some places in Guntur district to quell crowds that touched while polling agents of the candidates were reportedly beaten in some places, police sources said.
In the Sattenapalli constituency, agents of rival candidates clashed with each other inside a polling station and suffered injuries. Both were rushed to hospital for treatment. In the village of Mutluru near Guntur, a polling agent tried to isolate himself after rivals allegedly slammed him inside a polling station, sources said. This led to tension in the village as villagers claimed police remained mute spectators as perpetrators jumped onto the wall of the polling station complex and carried out the attack on the agent.
“Some missing incidents are happening, but we have acted quickly. We will bring the culprits involved in the violent incidents to reserve,” Guntur Urban District Police Officer Ammi Reddy told reporters.
He said a strong police force was deployed under the direct supervision of a Deputy Police Officer to prevent unexpected incidents, given the sensitive nature of the polling station.
In East Godavari district, two elderly men fell and died after exercising their exclusivity in separate villages, in what were suspected to be cases of heart attack.
The rain did not weaken the spirits of voters as they lined up in good numbers to exercise their exclusivity in several mandalas in the SPS Nellore district, sources at the State Election Commission said here.
In the fourth phase, voting was held to select 2,743 village sarpanches and 22,423 ward members at 3,299 grams of panchayat. Already, 554 sarpanche were declared elected without objection.
According to the State Election Commission, more than 80 percent of the polls were recorded in each of the four election stages for the panchayats. After a protracted dispute between YS government Jagan Mohan Reddy and State Election Commissioner N Ramesh Kumar and the resulting legal battle, the election for gram panchayats, the lowest level in the Panchayat Raj structure, ended in four stages between February 9th and 21st.
Although the panchayat election was conducted on an apolitical basis, the ruling YSR Congress claimed to have won more than 82 percent of the village bodies.
The main opposition party Telugu Desam, however, said the panchayat polls proved that people rejected the draconian rule of Jagan Mohan Reddy.
Elections for local urban bodies, scheduled for March 10, will be a direct battle between political parties, as also polls for mandals and bells parishes of the second and third levels of the Panchayat Raj structure will also show the true strength of parties.
The SEC will not yet announce the dates for the mandal and zilla parishad elections, which were abruptly postponed in March last year due to the Covid-19 explosion, as it is seeking legal opinion on the way forward.
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