More than half of the 1,500 families are still living in huts, says Matlam sarpanch aspirant

Women contestants in the fray for sarpanch elections scheduled for July 31, who are financially not too sound to woo voters with valuables, have taken up a unique stand of highlighting what other candidates failed to promise.

All-round development of their panchayat is their mantra and their promise to the voters. Women candidates in Kruthuvennu, Machilipatnam rural and Bantumilli have intensified their campaign by raising their voice against poor access to health care, basic amenities and largely better management of natural resources.

“Village drinking water pond was auctioned for aquaculture. Once liquor-free village is now flourishing with the trade. More than half of the 1,500 families are still living in huts,’’ said Matlam panchayat contestant Tumma Venkatalakshmi. Her campaign in Matlam village in Kruthuvennu mandal was aimed at improving management of surface water resource and timely access to potable water.

A few candidates in the rural pockets in Kruthuvennu cannot afford to engage a public sound system for the fortnight-long poll campaign, except believing in their stand on the genuine promises. Some contestants, whose election symbol is ‘Ring’ are distributing cheap quality rings to help the voters remember their symbol while they cast their vote.

The inability of financially poor contestants to raise their election expenditure has become boon for the financially sound candidates opponents. “When a contestant is not able to distribute even a single pie to the voters, his/her opponent’s spending would automatically woo or buy voters,” a sarpanch aspirant said. With just 48 hours to go for the end of campaigning for the third-phase poll, in Gudivada and Machilipatnam divisions, villages have worn festive look with hustle and bustle of poll-related activity.

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