Probe ordered into alleged auction of panchayat president posts in Villupuram district

Complaints have emerged of the auctioning of posts in Ponnankuppam panchayat and in Sitheri panchayat

September 19, 2021 02:53 pm | Updated 02:53 pm IST - VILLUPURAM

The Villupuram District Administration has ordered a detailed probe, after allegations surfaced of attempts to auction the post of panchayat president in two blocks in the district, ahead of the rural local body polls to be held next month.

According to official sources, complaints emerged of an attempt to auction the post of panchayat president in Ponnankuppam panchayat in Gingee block. The panchayat, with a voter population of 3,000 has been reserved for Scheduled Caste (Women) for the rural local body polls. The panchayat has two hamlets -- Thuthipet and Ponnankuppam. The village elders of Thuthipet had convened a meeting on Saturday to weed out a contest by ‘auctioning the seat’ to the highest bidder from Thuthipet, based on its population size. Allegations surfaced that the post had been sold for ₹13 lakh. However, the residents of Ponnankuppam opposed the move and contended that the candidate should be elected from their village.

Following information provided by villagers of Ponnankuppam, a team of officials led by Collector D. Mohan visited the village and conducted enquiries. Mr. Mohan said that a discreet probe by the police was also underway. Stringent action would be initiated if prima facie evidence was found. Revenue and police officials have also been asked to keep a close watch on the village.

Official sources said that claims had also emerged of attempt to auction the post of panchayat president in Sitheri panchayat in Kaanai block. Five candidates from the panchayat had proposed to file their nominations and the village elders had convened a meeting on Saturday evening to auction the seat to the highest bidder. However, a section of youth opposed the move and lodged a complaint with the Revenue authorities urging them to take action against those who were trying to subvert the democratic process.

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