The forthcoming Panchayat elections will have no separate polling stations for women voters. Also, it will be back to the system of casting vote through ballot papers as the number of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) is said to be far insufficient to meet the huge number of polling stations at the grassroots level.
At a regional review meeting with officials of Chittoor, Kadapa and Anantapur districts here on Tuesday, State Election Commissioner P. Ramakanth Reddy discussed issues such as voters’ list, polling stations, returning and assistant returning officers, deployment of officials on poll duty and code of conduct.
Polls after seven years
As panchayat elections were being conducted after a gap of seven years, extreme caution is being taken to ensure its conduct in a free and fair manner, Mr. Reddy told the media later.
Referring to the practice of gifting Rs.15 lakh to the panchayats that elected its sarpanches and ward members unanimously, he indicated the system would continue and the amount could also be raised, if needed. Mr. Reddy asked the officials to use the services of engineering students for webcasting and wherever not found feasible, undertake video recording.
Panchayat Raj Commissioner K. Ramagopal said reservation would be implemented by taking the State as a unit, as per the decision taken in 2011. Collectors Solomon Arokiaraj (Chittoor), Satyanarayana (in-charge Anantapur), Joint Collectors Vinay Chand (Chittoor) and K. Nirmala (Kadapa), Superintendents of Police S.V. Rajasekhar Babu (Tirupati Urban), M.K. Sinha (Kadapa) Shanawaz Kasim (Anantapur) were among those who took part.