Final phase of Panchayat polls underway in Andhra


Polling was underway peacefully for the fourth and final phase of Panchayat elections in Andhra Pradesh on Sunday.

Huge voter turnout was recorded in the majority of 2,743 Panchayats going to polls in the last phase. According to the State Election Commission, 66.60 per cent polling was registered by 12.30 p.m.

Polling was underway for the posts of 2,743 Sarpanchs and 22,423 ward members. Poll officials said a total of 67,75,226 votes are eligible to exercise their franchise in 161 mandals of 16 revenue divisions in 13 districts.

Barring minor incidents of clashes between the rival groups at few places, the voting was peaceful.

Two groups clashed near a polling centre at Mutturu in Vatticherukuru mandal in Guntur district over allegations of rigging. Tension prevailed as a person tried to immolate himself. Police prevented him from taking the extreme step.

Enthusiasm among voters marked the polling. Long queues were seen at the polling booths. People who could barely walk also turned up to cast their votes.

Two elderly voters died during the polling in two separate incidents in East Godavari district. They collapsed at polling booths after casting their votes and died.

The polling began at 6.30 a.m. and will continue till 3.30 p.m. Counting of votes will be taken up from 4 p.m.

Notification was issued for the final phase of polling for 3,299 Panchayats. The State Election Commissioner said 554 Sarpanchs were elected unanimously. A total of 7,475 candidates are in fray for the posts of 2,743 Sarpanchs.

For the final phase of polls, 28,995 polling booths were set up. The officials identified 38 per cent of the booths as sensitive. The SEC is using the services of 96,000 personnel for conducting the polls and counting of votes.

With the final phase, election for 13,097 Panchayats will be completed.