SEC reschedules phases of gram panchayat polls; first phase shifted from Feb 5 to 21
Vijayawada: The State Election Commission on Monday rescheduled the conduct of gram panchayat polls in revised phases. The poll for February 4, originally phase one, will be held on February 21 as the last phase, Phase IV, while dates for the remaining three phases remain unchanged.
Phases-II, III and IV scheduled to be held on February 9, 13 and 17 respectively will be held as usual except for altering the numbers of these phases as I, II and III respectively. The polling time is fixed from 6.30 am to 3.30 pm.
The district administrations had failed to make necessary arrangements for nominations for polls scheduled on February 5 under the original phase-I. Following this, the SEC has rescheduled the polling for the first phase for the last part.
When the SEC convened a video conference with collectors, SPs and other district officials on January 23, and a communication was sent to Chief Secretary, DGP, principal secretary and commissioner, panchayat raj and principal finance secretary to join it and review preparedness for conduct of polls, this could not be held as no instructions came from the state government to the officials to take part in the conference.
As the state had moved the apex court seeking deferring of polls as it was preoccupied with the Covid-19 vaccination programme, the government awaited the verdict. However, with the Supreme Court allowing conduct of Gram Panchayat polls, via its verdict delivered on Monday, the SEC has given the go-ahead for the polls under phases-II, III and IV as per earlier schedule as phases I, II and III on February 9, 13 and 17 respectively.
As per the rescheduled phase-IV of polls, election notice will be issued by the returning officer on February 10, to receive nominations from 10.30 am to 5 pm, and the last day for nominations for this phase will be February 12, up to 5 pm.
Scrutiny of nominations will be held on February 13 from 8 am. Appeal against rejection of nominations can be filed on February 14 up to 5pm while the appeals will be taken up for consideration on February 15. The last date for withdrawal of candidature will be on February 16 up to 3 pm while publication of the final list of contestants will be done on February 16.
Polling, wherever necessary, will be held on February 21 from 6.30 am to 3.30 pm while counting of votes will be taken up on the same day from 4 pm.
Election of Upa-Sarpanch will also be held on the same day. In case the election of US is not held on the same day, it will be done the next day.
The SEC has authorised the district collectors and Andhra Pradesh state to indent the services of central government employees and members of central public sector undertakings for election-related work.
State election commissioner N. Ramesh Kumar has instructed district collectors to undertake election work without disruption by deploying state government employees and members of state public sector, state government organisations, members of state corporations and other entities in the first instance and avail the services of central employees as a last resort.
Sheik Shameemthaj, YSRC woman leader from Hindupur Rural mandal, tried to file her nomination for the Tumakunta gram panchayat sarpanch post on Monday morning. But she returned back after no officials and staff were found at the MPDO office in Hindupur.
TD candidates also tried to submit nomination papers at various MPDO offices in Anantapur district. But staff at these places were not available to collect nomination papers.
At Nellore, TD leaders pulled up Mandal Parishat Development Officer of Buchireddypalem mandal, Narasimha Rao, when the latter expressed his helplessness in receiving the nomination papers for panchayat elections on Monday. Narasimha Rao maintained that they have not received any directions or nomination papers from higher authorities.
Taking a serious view of these developments, TDP leaders said they would complain to Governor and State Election Commissioner in this regard....