AP Panchayat polls begin amid stray clashes, disruptions

Photo - PTI
Photo – PTI

Hyderabad, 23 Jul (PTI): Stray incidents of clashes between workers of different political parties marred the first phase of gram panchayats elections in Andhra Pradesh today.

Overall, the election process was going on peacefully with over 40 per cent polling so far as heavy rains and floods in some districts did not deter voters from exercising their right.

Polls were held for 5,803 gram panchayats in 25 revenue divisions in state’s 22 districts during the first phase.

Election of sarpanches will be held in the afternoon.

The elections to gram panchayats, the lowest tier in the three-tier Panchayat Raj Institutions in Andhra Pradesh, are being held after a gap of over two years.

Polling was disrupted at a handful of polling stations in different districts as errors were noticed in the ballot.

In some cases, the same symbol was allotted to different candidates while in some cases the ballots were printed without the poll symbols. Such incidents were reported from Nalgonda, Krishna and Anantapuram districts but exact details are awaited.

Clashes were reported among Congress, YSR Congress and Telugu Desam Party workers in Kadapa and Kurnool districts.

Nearly six people were injured in the clashes but the polling process continued unhindered, official sources in the State Election Commission said.

In Prakasam district, TDP and Congress workers clashed at Adusumilli village leading to some tension. Police stepped in to quell the fighting groups.

At Kattawada village under Tenali revenue division in Guntur district, villagers boycotted the election after police personnel deployed for security allegedly manhandled some voters.

At Lakshmipuram Colony in Prakasam district too villagers boycotted the panchayat election protesting the non-development of roads in their village.

In Adilabad district, election to seven panchayats was put off because of incessant rain.

In East Godavari district, people in Lanka villages braved rain and flood to queue up at the polling booths to exercise their franchise.

The State Election Commission has decided to postpone the third phase polling to several gram panchayats on July 31 due to heavy rains and floods.

The villages where polling has been postponed are in the mandals of Narnoor, Kerameri, Wankidi and Asifabad in Adilabad district and Munchingput, Koyyuru and Chintapally mandals in Visakhapatnam district, the Commission officials said.

Meanwhile, the counting of votes would begin after the polling ends at 1 PM.

As many as 2,642 sarpanchs in the state have already been elected unopposed.


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