Says counting must start by 2 p.m. without fail

Taking into consideration the experiences of the first two phases of the panchayat elections in the district, polling officials must conduct the third and final phase on Wednesday in a more efficient manner, Collector and District Election Officer V. Sheshadri told mandal-level officers of Anakapalle Revenue Division through a video conference on Monday.

Mistakes in ballot papers were noticed in some mandals in the first two phases and the officials must verify the ballot papers thoroughly to ensure that such mistakes did not occur this time, Mr. Sheshadri said.

If needed, additional table could be laid for counting of votes in major panchayats like Chodavram, Kasimkota, Tummapala, Madugula and Pudimadaka, he said.

The Collector laid a lot of stress on the counting process since counting did not start even after 2 p.m. during the first two phases.

He told the officials to start counting at 2 p.m. without fail and inform the control room by 2.30 p.m. that the process has commenced. Counting must be completed by 6 p.m. and power generators could be arranged wherever necessary.

He also said that stringent action would be initiated against the polling staff under the People’s Representation Act if they resorted to confrontation.

“These are all very specific instructions”, Mr. Sheshadri said.

Joint Collector Pravin Kumar, CEO of ZPP G.V. Reddy, District Panchayat Officer K. Sudhakar and others were also present.

Later, Mr. Sheshadri told reporters that all arrangements were in place for the third phase of polling, to be held in 12 mandals of Anakapalle Revenue Division. Polling will be held for 282 posts of sarpanches and 2,324 ward members.

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