Elections to 2,422 gram panchayats unanimous

Sarpanches and ward members to 2,422 out of 21,441 gram panchayats in the State for which the polls are being held, have been elected unanimously.

In another 174 gram panchayats, sarpanches have been elected unopposed while ward members faced contests. So, the elections for the posts of sarpanches will be held now for 18,845 gram panchayats, announced State Election Commission Secretary Navin Mittal.

He told reporters on Thursday that Chittoor district accounted for the highest number of unanimously elected panchayats (293) followed by Srikakulam (202) and Nellore (194). The least number was in Ranga Reddy (131).

Meanwhile, the contesting candidates, some of them openly backed by political parties, appeared to have stepped up their efforts to distribute cash and liquor to woo voters. This became evident from the fact that the amount seized so far by flying squads comprising police and election officials reached a whopping sum of Rs.8.22 crore. The total sum seized last time was a little over Rs.31 crore. Nizamabad topped as Rs.84.3 lakh of cash was seized there in raids. Gold articles worth Rs.69.5 lakh were seized in Nellore district. Mr. Mittal said re-election had been ordered in case of 15 out of 28 gram panchayats where unanimous elections were reported through auctioning. Action would be taken in respect of the remaining 13 gram panchayats after receipt of inquiry reports.