Stage is set for the panchayat elections in the state, the first phase of which will be held in the state on July 23.
All arrangements are in place and the security personnel started arriving in the districts for election duty. In all 1.08 lakh personnel from police departments have been roped in for the election duties.
Briefing newsmen here on Saturday, state Election Commissioner P Ramakanth Reddy said the State Election Commission took stock of situation in the districts through video conference with the respective collectors and SPs.
In view of Ramzan and Bonalu festivals in the state capital, it was decided not to disturb police personnel deputed on duty in the twin cities. The rest of the forces have been redeployed and redistributed, he said.
In all 68,650 police personnel including officers have been deployed for election duty. In addition to them, 19,000 home guards, 1,000 sub inspectors in training, 9,000 police constables in training have also been roped in. Further, 1,500 police personnel with vigilance, ACB and other departments have also been deployed. Moreover, 9,500 personnel from APSP battalions will be on election duty. ‘’We have not taken in excise personnel as they were entrusted with other tasks,’’ he said.
According to him, 6,189 villages have been identified as sensitive, 5,710 as hypersensitive and 770 as extremist infested. ‘’After discussing with the SPs of the respective districts, necessary security arrangements have been made in those villages,’’ Reddy said.
It has been decided to webcast the polls in 5,610 villages, while elections will be videographed in 6,116 villages. There will be 7,300 micro observes on duty, he said.
‘’So far, we have seized Rs 12.57 crore unaccounted cash so far. We have also closed down 10,799 belt shops. Excise department had seized 6,378 bottles of liqour, 9,860 kg of black jaggery meant for brewing arrack,’’ Ramakanth Reddy explained.
“We have made it clear that model code of conduct is not a hindrance for distribution of food and other relief material in the flood-affected villages,’’ he said.
During video conference, district collectors of Adilabad, Khammam, Nizamabad, Warangal, West Godavari and East Godavari had informed that some of the villages were marooned and water-logged, hence it could be difficult to conduct elections there as scheduled.
‘’We have taken their request into consideration and asked them to update us on the situation in the respective districts. If needed, State Election Commission has no objection in postponing the elections in the flood-affected villages and conduct them in the third phase,’’ he said.
After the unanimous election of 2,642 sarpanchs and no nominations for 78 sarpanch posts, elections are being held in 18,721 villages. In case of ward members, 59,955 were elected unopposed and 1,55,942 ward members are to be elected.