Staff Correspondent

MYSORE: Another incident of auctioning of gram panchayat seats has been reported from Bhuvanahalli Gram Panchayat in Periyapatna taluk of Mysore, and the Election Officer has directed the police to investigate the matter.

According to sources, fours seats of Bhuvanahalli were auctioned at the village temple recently, and all four candidates, who emerged successful, were elected unopposed.

A Bhuvanahalli resident, who spoke to The Hindu on condition of anonymity, said that the four seats in the gram panchayat went to the highest bidders.

Though one other candidate had filed her nomination papers, she withdrew on Monday, paving the way for the unanimous election of those who bought the seats. “The unity among the residents is such that everyone remained tight-lipped when the police came to investigate the matter,” he said. While Somashekar, Rajagopal and Deepa successfully put up over Rs.1 lakh for the seats, Bharathi got her seat with a bid of Rs. 90,000. It is said that the seats were auctioned for the development of the village temple, dedicated to Doddatayamma, which is in a dilapidated state.

When contacted, Periyapatna tahsildar Nanjunde Gowda said that on learning about the incident, he directed the Bettadapura Circle Inspector to investigate the matter and submit a report. Admitting that all four candidates had been elected unopposed, he said that he had not received any complaint either from the village residents or from the election official stationed at Bhuvanahalli on the matter.

Meanwhile, election to Ramanathatunga Gram Panchayat in Periyapatna taluk has been annulled as there were no candidates from the Backward Caste and Minorities (B) category.