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Villupuram: Demanding separate panchayat, villagers boycott civic elections

Protest only as prez post reserved for SCs, charge residents of neighbouring village

Published: 07th October 2021 05:29 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th October 2021 05:29 AM   |  A+A-

Representational Image. (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

VILLUPURAM: As many as 1,450 voters from Ponnankuppam village boycotted the local body polls held on Wednesday, demanding to constitute a separate panchayat to elect candidates, asserting their constitutional right in the rural civic polls. 

The Ponnankuppam panchayat, comprising two villages Ponnankuppam and Thuthipattu, has around 3,000 voters in total, the majority of 2,400 voters from Thuthipattu, while the rest hail from Ponnankuppam. The panchayat was reserved for SC (Women) in the 2021 polls. 

Incident that happened earlier
On September 17, allegations surfaced that posts of panchayat president were put up for auction at `13 lakhs to elect one M Mangai as the panchayat president for the Ponnakuppam, sources said. Following complaints, district Collector D Mohan warned residents that auction of such posts will be a criminal offence and stringent action will be taken against the candidates involved.

Babu Singh (68), from Ponnankuppam told TNIE, “For the past eight terms of the local body in the last 20 years, residents from Thuthipattu took the liberty of unanimously choosing the president through auction without letting our villagers get a chance in the election.”

However, residents from Thuthipattu alleged that villagers of Ponnankuppam demand separation because it was announced as a reserved panchayat and also, a member of the SC community would be chosen as panchayat president, Official sources confirmed that members of MBC and BC resided in Ponnankuppam and members from various communities including SC resided in Thuthipattu. 

B Govindan (34), from Thuthipattu told TNIE, “If auction was the problem, then why didn’t they demand for separation over the past 20 years? They can’t tolerate the leadership of a SC woman which is why they are firm on separation.”

“We spoke to the people of Thuthipattu a day before the polls, and counselled them to not boycott the polls. However, they had boycotted it. We will probe further and release a report,” the Collector said. 
Police personnel had been deployed to prevent atrocities in the village. The police said that the situation in the village was under control.



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