Elections to 340 gram panchayats in Eluru revenue to be held today
The first phase of panchayat election scheduled to happen in Eluru revenue division in West Godavari district on Tuesday is all set to pass off under the shadow of incessant drizzle followed by inclement weather. Although the division remained unaffected by floods, the situation in the remaining three revenue divisions continued to be grim till today. The administration is likely to defer elections in areas vulnerable to floods in the second and third phases if there is no let up in the flood situation.
The official machinery has to engage itself in the election arrangements and the flood control measures simultaneously. The calamity distracted the attention of the public representatives and leaders of political parties from the panchayat elections being held on a non-party basis. The candidates fighting for the sapranch and ward member posts spent their prime time in the campaigning through the worst cyclonic conditions that prevailed until the day ahead of the polling. The election at M.M Puram, native village of Tourism Minister Vatti Vasanthkumar under Unguturu Assembly segment and East Yadavalli from where Congress senior leader and former Minister Kotagiri Vidyadhara Rao, who died a couple of days ago, hailed from, hog the limelight. The election in East Yadavalli reflected an intra-party turf war between Vidyadhara Rao and his long-time rival Ghanta Muraliramakrishna with the former’s daughter Anitha taking on her rival pitted by the latter.
In spite of the measures undertaken by the district administration to keep the election away from the influence of liquor and money, their role appeared to be imminent, according to reports. The election expenditure was reported to have crossed Rs. 50 lakh in some unreserved panchayats as against the expenditure limit of the State Election Commission which ranged between Rs. 40,000 and Rs. 80,000 depending on the size of the population in the respective villages.
A candidate in a delta village, who secured ring as an election symbol, was allegedly getting ready to distribute gold rings weighing 1 gram each to the voters. Each vote is allegedly on sale for a premium ranging from Rs. 300 to Rs. 1,000 in most of the villages. Similar is the case with liquor which reportedly continued to flow into villages unabatedly.
A little over 340 gram panchayats under 16 mandals in the Eluru revenue division is scheduled to go to the polls on Tuesday.