Staff Correspondent

KOLAR: The police arrested 19 persons, including 13 candidates contesting gram panchayat elections, who were protesting against the “lapses” in deciding constituencies and setting up polling booths in Doddur Karapanahalli gram panchayat in Bangarpet taluk on Saturday.

Barring this incident, polling in 156 gram panchayats in five taluks of the district was peaceful.

The controversy over two constituencies in Doddur Karapanahalli gram panchayat ended with the candidates boycotting the elections.

Alleging that the authorities concerned, including Tahsildar Dakshayini, failed in correcting the “anomaly” while deciding the two constituencies which has nine members, 40 candidates boycotted polling. Inter-change of plantation 1 and 2 constituencies led to confusion among the people.

Protest

To register their protest against the lukewarm response from the authorities, the candidates supported by the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Janata Dal (Secular) and the Bharatiya Janata Party staged a rasta roko.

The BEML Nagar police arrested 19 persons, including CPI (M) district secretary G. Arjunan, former vice-president of Doddur Karapanahalli S. Shailaja and Flora, one of the candidates.

Deputy Commissioner and district returning officer N. Prabhakar blamed the candidates for the confusion.

Mistakes

It was a result of the mistakes committed by the candidates, Mr. Prabhakar told The Hindu. As the voters did not exercise their franchise, these two constituencies (nine seats) in Doddur Karapanahalli gram panchayat would go unrepresented for the next five years, Mr. Prabhakar said.

The candidates are planning to approach the Election Commission.

“We will petition the State Election Commission,” Ms. Shailaja, State's representative of Association of Local Governance of India (ALGI), said. Elsewhere in the district, polling was peaceful.

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