VIJAYAWADA: State Election Commissioner Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar on Monday expressed satisfaction over the smooth and successful conduct of Panchayat Raj elections in four phases, which concluded on February 21. Speaking to mediapersons at his office, the SEC said large turnout of voters showed their faith in the democratic process. He said elections were held for 13,097 sarpanch posts, of which 2,197 were elected unanimously, that is 16.77 per cent and 47,459 ward members were elected unanimously, that is 36.22 per cent. It is more or less equal to what happened in the past and can be said to be reasonable and normal, he said.
In 2013 panchayat elections, 1,980 out of 12,740 sarpanches (15.54 per cent) and 44,448 out of 1,29,316 ward members (34.37 per cent) were elected unanimously, he pointed out. The SEC said 50 per cent of those elected are women and from backward classes and weaker sections, which, he opined, will infuse new leadership, vitality and sense of direction to the rural local bodies. He said elections also paved the way for release of funds from the Finance Commission.
The SEC was all praise for the government machinery and felt that without the dedicated efforts of 90,000 plus government employees and 50,000 plus police personnel, who took the risk during the challenging circumstance of the Covid pandemic, the smooth and successful conduct of the elections might not be possible. “Thanks to their efforts, in every phase, 80 per cent plus voter turnout was recorded, which showed people’s faith in the law and order situation. Barring a few stray incidents, the elections have been extremely peaceful,” he said.
Ramesh Kumar had a word of praise for the Chief Secretary, DGP, district collectors, SPs and other district election authorities. He also thanked the media for its cooperation. He said after the panchayat elections, the commission thought of holding MPTC, ZPTC elections, but with a couple of issues pending in the court, it is not proper to discuss the same at this juncture. “Once the legal issues are settled, elections for MPTCs and ZPTCs will be held,” he said.
The SEC said all arrangements are in place for the municipal elections. The elections will be held for 12 municipal corporations and 75 municipalities and nagar panchayats. Describing the voters in urban local bodies as educated and socially aware, he urged them to exercise their franchise by turning up in large numbers for elections as more than 80 per cent of people did in the rural areas. “I have asked the district collectors to consider the applications of those who were allegedly forced to withdraw nominations or could not nominate, provided there is evidence. It will be wrapped up by February 23,” he said.
12 municipal corporations
75 municipalities and nagar panchayats
Polling date: March 10
Counting: March 14
Once the legal issues are settled, elections for MPTCs and ZPTCs will be held, says SEC