539 sarpanches and 12,604 ward members elected unanimously

All set for second phase of panchayat polls

The second phase of polling to the gram panchayats in the State will be conducted on Saturday (February 13).

Out of the total 3,328 sarpanch posts notified, candidates in the fray for 539 posts have been elected unanimously. Similarly, out of the total 33,570 ward member posts, 12,604 have witnessed unanimous elections.

In a statement on Friday, Gopal Krishna Dwivedi, Principal Secretary, Panchayat Raj and Rural Development, said out of 2,789 sarpanch posts that would have to go to the polls on Saturday, there were contestants only in respect of 2,786 posts as ‘No Nomination’ case was reported in Nellore, Kurnool and Srikakulam districts. In all, 7,507 candidates were in the fray for these seats.

Similarly, there were no nominations for 149 ward member posts. As a result, 44,876 candidates were contesting for the remaining 20,817 posts.

Polling stations

A total of 29,304 polling stations had been set up for sarpanch elections. Of them, 5,480 were identified as sensitive and 4,181 as hyper-sensitive. Ballot boxes had been segregated as big (18,387), medium (8,351) and small (24,034).

To monitor the polling process, a network of officials would be deployed, Mr. Dwivedi said. As many as 1,292 Stage-I Returning Officers, 3,427 Stage-II Returning Officers, 1,370 Assistant Returning Officers, 33,835 Presiding Officers and 47,492 other polling staff would constantly monitor the process.

Besides, 551 zonal officers, 1,228 route officers and 2,606 micro observers, who had been given training for the purpose, would work collectively to ensure peaceful voting.

COVID-19 protocol

To ensure COVID-19 appropriate behaviour at the polling centres, adequate stocks of masks, hand sanitisers, thermal scanners and hand gloves were made available, he said.

Voters found to be COVID-19 positive would be given PPE kits, and they would be made to exercise their franchise in the last hour of the polling.

“Food, snacks and accommodation have been arranged for the polling staff in the vicinity of the polling and distribution centres,” he added.

Thirteen officials from the Panchayat Raj Department had been allocated one district each to monitor and coordinate the arrangements with the local officials and extend whatever help that was needed.

A command control centre was set up in the Panchayat Raj Commissioner’s office to directly assess the voting pattern and other key aspects of the process.

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