Staff Correspondent

The formal declaration was made on Tuesday

DHARWAD: In all, 377 candidates have been elected unopposed to the gram panchayats in the three districts of Haveri, Gadag and Dharwad.

The formal declaration of the unopposed election of candidates was made on Tuesday after the deadline for withdrawal of nomination papers ended on Monday.

As many as 160 candidates got elected unopposed in Haveri district followed by 124 in Dharwad district and 93 in Gadag district.

While in most cases the unopposed elections were the result of mediation by elders of the villages and leaders of political parties, in a few cases there were rumours about the candidates having bought the seat from others to get elected unopposed.

In Dharwad district, there was one case of the villagers auctioning the gram panchayat seats for the development of a temple in the village.

According to the residents of Sangameshwara village in Kalghatgi taluk of Dharwad district, the auction was for development of Lord Basaveshwara Temple.

The village has five gram panchayat seats and they were reportedly auctioned for Rs. 25,000 each by the villagers. Those who could afford bought the seats before filing their nomination papers.

According to Tukaram Solapuri of the village, the elders of the village took the decision to auction the seats and there was no objection as everyone wanted the temple, which required immediate repairs, to be developed.