VIJAYAWADA: Counting of votes for the elections held for MPTCs and ZPTCs in Andhra Pradesh commenced at 8 am on Sunday across the state amid tight security. Staff engaged for the counting of votes were allowed into the counting rooms after checking them with heat scanners following COVID protocols.
By 11 am, the ruling YSRC candidates had either won or had an overwhelming lead over their nearest rivals in most of the ZPTCs and MPTCs in all the 13 districts.
Out of 660 mandals in the state elections were not held in 8 mandals, while 126 ZPTC seats were declared unanimous and counting for 11 seats was not held as the contesting candidates had died. Counting is being held for 515 ZPTC seats, where 2,058 candidates are in fray.
Out of 10,047 MPTC seats 2,371 were declared unanimous and counting for 375 seats was not held for various reasons. 81 contesting candidates had died. On Sunday counting is being held for 7,220 MPTC seats for which 18,782 candidates have contested.
In all 209 counting centres were arranged following COVID protocols and 11,803 counting supervisors and 32,264 counting persons have been engaged. Elaborate security arrangements have been made.
After a division bench of the Andhra Pradesh High Court gave green signal for counting of votes on September 16 setting aside the single judge's verdict, the State Election Commission notified September 19 as the day for counting of votes and declaration of results.
Principal Secretary (Panchayat Raj) Gopal Krishna Dwivedi said that counting commenced on time across the state and is being held in a peaceful manner. "At six places, ballot papers were reported damaged. At four places due to wetting and at two places due to termite infestation. However, the ballot paper damage is marginal," he said.
According to him, those six places were ballot paper damage was reported were Ravela and Bejathapuram in Tadikonda mandal of Guntur district, Shalantri in Srikakulam district, Mukkipalem, Tutipala and Papayapalem in Visakhapatnam. "The decision as regards what needs to be done? Is repolling necessary? Will be taken up by the respective district collectors following the directions of the State Election Commision," he said.