ONGOLE: The Prakasam police won kudos for lending a helping hand to senior citizens and differently abled people to cast their votes during the fourth phase of panchayat elections on Sunday. As part of people-friendly policing, the police personnel went extra mile to assist voters, especially elderly and physically challenged people, to exercise their franchise.
This apart, they also asked the voters if the security arrangements made were good enough. The voters were taken aback when the police personnel asked them to give feedback and suggestions on improving security. An 87-year-old Penugonda Vengamma of Devaraju Gattu village in Peda Araveedu mandal, due to her age could not come to the polling station. On knowing about this, the police personnel rushed to her house and brought her to the polling station in a vehicle.
At the polling station, the SP, sitting on his knees, spoke to her warmly. A bewildered Vengamma told Kaushal, “The police have escorted me to the polling station to vote. I cannot believe it. I have never received such attention. You (the SP) are like my son.” Bala Nagamma, a 50-year-old woman from SC Colony in Jangamguntla village in Cumbum mandal said, “In the past, we were afraid to vote. Now, that fear is gone. The police have instilled confidence in us to cast vote without fear.”
Katta Mariamma (54) of Taticherla village in Komarolu mandal said that she was from Harijanawada and she was always scared to vote. “Thanks to the police security, we are not afraid to exercise our franchise this time,” she added.Meanwhile, the SP visited several polling stations in sensitive and hypersensitive locations on Sunday, as part of monitoring the panchayat elections. About 452 polling stations were set up in 12 mandals comprising 170 gram panchayats in Markapur division.
Later, Siddharth Kaushal interacted with the police, para-police, NSS and NCC volunteers and women police personnel deployed there. The polling process in Markapur division was monitored by the police personnel with the help of drone cameras, bodyworn cameras and closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras.
Andhra Pradesh and Telangana Human Rights Commission chairman Dr Sheikh Mohammad Rafi said the elections were held in a peaceful manner. He said unprecedented security was provided during the polls in order to maintain law and order.