Auction of panchayat raj seats: SEC to take action

Special Correspondent

State Election Commission will not remain a mute spectator if such cases are reported, warns A.V.S. Reddy

Village committees come under scrutinyAnganwadi workers can contest the pollsFPS dealers not eligible to contest: officialTelecast of telefilm on irrigation stopped

HYDERABAD: State Election Commissioner A.V.S. Reddy has said that the commission will seek detailed reports from Collectors of the districts where auction of the mandal and Zilla Parishad seats is said to have taken place.

Stating that such auctions were completely against law, Mr. Reddy told reporters that the commission would not remain quiet if such cases were reported in the interest of holding free and fair elections.

He said that complaints that village committees were organising open auctions were also under scrutiny.

The commission gave the go-ahead to anganwadi workers and helpers to contest the panchayat raj elections. In a circular issued on Thursday, the SEC said the High Court had upheld the orders of the Women Development and Child Welfare Department in1996 permitting community health workers, anganwadi workers and helpers to contest the polls.

Commission Secretary G.N. Rao said fair price shop dealers were not eligible to contest since there was a contract between the dealer and the Government.

No ad on schemes

The Secretary said that that the Information and Public Relations Department had been asked to stop releasing advertisements for any ongoing scheme or new programme.

The commission stopped telecast of `Sufalam', a short Telugu telefilm on irrigation, till the poll process was completed.

Meanwhile, representatives of PRIA, an NGO, and other civil organisations met Mr. Reddy and apprised him about their initiative with regard to the pre-election voter campaign being launched in gram panchayats. The SEC agreed to provide 12,000 copies of the model code of conduct.