HYDERABAD: Md Sikinder, a sarpanch candidate in Nizamabad district had a shock of his life during the phase-2 gram panchayat polls on Friday. The cup and saucer symbol for which he campaigned in the run-up to the elections was missing from the ballot papers on the poll date. On inquiry, he came to know that a different symbol was allotted, mistakenly, by the poll officials.
The incident occurred at Jallapally gram panchayat of Kotagiri mandal in Nizamabad. This goof-up led to postponing of the election. The cup and saucer symbol that was initially allotted for Sikinder was missing in the ballot papers on the polling day. Instead, there was a ‘bat’ symbol printed against his name.
According to election rules, election symbols are allotted to the candidates in the order of Ring, scissors, bat, cup and saucer. But in the present case, cup and saucer symbol was mistakenly given to Sikinder instead of a bat symbol. On polling day, the officials, however, rectified the mistake by allotting a bat symbol for him regardless of the fact that he had campaigned with the cup and saucer symbol. The damage was done. Word quickly spread among the voters about the goof-up and no one arrived to cast their vote. The damage automatically percolated to the ward member seats as well.
Since the voters did not go to vote for the sarpanch seat, knowing about the missing symbol, ward member seats to six wards - 3,4,5,6,7 and 8 - were not cast. Wards 1 & 2 were unanimously elected. The collector and district election authority of Nizamabad cancelled the polls and notified that the polls would be held along with Phase 3 polls on January 30. To Sikinder’s relief, he will get to contest on cup and saucer instead of bat.
Repoll in three wards
The errors in the allotment of symbols continued to haunt SEC officials in several ways. Ward member seats in three gram panchayat were cancelled and re-polls have been notified. In the case of Nallavaripally gram panchayat of Madgul mandal in Rangareddy district, the election officials issued only two symbols on ballot papers instead of three. This caused the cancellation of ward 8 of polls.