HYDERABAD: Supporters of the contesting candidates line up at Pocharam village in Ranga Reddy district. Their intention is to influence the 180 odd voters in the village to vote for their candidates. Though such practices are prohibited under the rules of Telangana Panchayat Raj Act, 2018, these people openly indulge in last minute ‘canvassing’ in full view of on-duty police personnel.
This is not a new trend by any means. In fact, a look at the campaign trail in the run-up to the first two of the three-phased panchayat polls shows that numerous ways were used by political parties to influence voters.
It started with the parties claiming to have ‘won the elections’ by bagging so many numbers of sarpanch seats.
Such claims are in violation of poll code as the State Election Commission (SEC) does not record and provide any data on sarpanch winning seats based on their affiliation to any political party.
The candidates contest on unique symbols allotted to them and not on those of the political parties.
“The political parties are not supposed to give out data claiming victory or loss of their opponents as such data is not maintained by us,” informed an SEC official.
“The numbers stem from the constituencies where political party representatives field their workers or supporters as the contestant and later claim a win or lost depending on the outcome,” he added.
However, it has become a common practice during gram panchayat polls.