Madurai

Two candidates declared Panchayat president-elect in Sivaganga district

A scene at a counting centre in Kallal Union, near Karaikudi in Sivaganga district, on Thursday

A scene at a counting centre in Kallal Union, near Karaikudi in Sivaganga district, on Thursday   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Confusion over counting leads to commotion, candidate alleges political interference in the process

A brief commotion was reported early on Friday morning at the counting centre for Sakkottai Panchayat Union in Sivaganga district, as two candidates who had contested for the post of Sankarapuram village panchayat president were awarded certificates

Two women candidates, Devi Mankudi and Priyadarshini Iyyappan, contested for the post reserved for woman (general), under autorickshaw and lock-and-key symbols respectively.

Late on Thursday evening, Devi was declared the winner by scoring 67 votes more than the other candidate and was awarded the certificate of village panchayat president elect. However, as the opposite party demanded a recount, the counting was done again around 2 a.m. on Friday and subsequently Priyadarshini was declared the winner leading by 63 votes. She was also awarded a certificate.

“The recount was done because of the intervention of a ruling party functionary. We suspect there is some discrepancy and bungling in the recount,” said Devi. She noted that Priyadarshini’s husband was a functionary in the AIADMK.

A source in the counting centre said that the recount was carried out in the presence of the observer and district collector since the initial count did not tally with the number of votes.

Sivaganga district collector, J. Jayakanthan denied any political interference or pressure. “Certificate was awarded to Devi even before the counting was completed and by the end of the counting, over 1500 votes could not be tallied with the count. Hence, a recount was suggested and it was carried out in a fair manner in the presence of the observer. Around 5 a.m. after the final round of counting, candidate Priyadarshini was declared winner,” he said.

However, Ms. Devi said that she will be filing a case in the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court, seeking justice, based on the certificate given to her.

Plea to annex with Karaikudi Municipality

Sankarapuram panchayat is one of the largest village panchayats in Sivaganga district, with a population of 40,000 and 15 wards. There has been a long time plea by the people of the panchayat to be annexed with the Karaikudi Municipality.

“The village has grown as a suburban area for Karaikudi town but none of the parties have paid heed to the people’s demand. Annexing with the municipality will fetch better facilities and infrastructure for the village,” said Athi Jagannathan, a PIL activist based in Karaikudi.

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 6:47:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/two-candidates-declared-panchayat-president-elect-in-sivaganga-district/article30468274.ece

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