Guntur Collector says RDOs will probe allegations of auctions and coercion

Taking a serious view of reports of auctions for sarpanch posts, the district administration has put on hold results at 11 places where sarpanches have been elected unanimously, district Collector S. Suresh Kumar said here on Thursday.

Out of the 11 places, 10 villages are in Narasaraopet division, while one village is in Tenali revenue division.

The results have been kept pending an enquiry by the respective Revenue Divisional Officers over allegations of auctions, coercions etc, the Collector said at a media conference.

At the end of the last day of withdrawal of nominations, results at 162 villages have been unanimous, far less than those in the previous polls held in 2006. Tenali accounted for most number of unanimously elected sarpanches with 58, followed by Narasaraopet (50) and Guntur (37).

Elections are being held at 846 gram panchayats and 7,027 wards in the district in three phases. With the elections expected to be keenly contested, 2,239 candidates are in the fray for the sarpanch posts while 15,716 are in fray for ward members.

A three-tier bandobast has been put in place to ensure a free and fair poll and over 10,000 men have been bound over.

The run-up to the polls has been peaceful so far and police have ensured tight vigil at the most sensitive villages in Narasaraopet and Gurazala divisions.

Referring to violations of model code of conduct, the Collector said that a VRO, an AE of Irrigation Department have been suspended. The administration has already banned circulation of bulk SMSes and has been keeping a watch on bank transactions of the candidates.

Earlier, Mr. Suresh Kumar reviewed the functioning of Excise Department and said that prohibitory orders have been issued on the supply of liquor in Tenali revenue division from July 21, 5 p.m.

Polls are being held on July 23.

He also asked the Excise personnel to ensure that stocks have been emptied in local depots to prevent any irregularities.

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