Gujarat State Election Commission (GSEC), on Monday, declared elections to 10,318 gram panchayats in the state will be conducted on December 27. These will be elections of sarpanches in all those gram panchayats along with members of total around 91,000 wards.
Although, gram panchayat elections are not being fought on party symbols, these elections are considered very important ahead of general assembly elections of Gujarat due in December next year.
The declaration was done by Gujarat State Election Commissioner Varesh Sinha here. The last date for filing candidature is December 10. While the scrutiny of nomination papers will be held on December 12, the last date of withdrawal of nominations is December 14.
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Election results are expected on December 29 after counting of votes on that day.
Sinha said that the elections will have total 1.89 crore voters. And people will be casting their vote through ballot papers and not through Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). He added that the elections are on a mass scale and GSEC does not have enough EVMs to deal with it and therefore ballot papers will be used in it. “Online voting facility is not available, however, we will provide NOTA (none of the above) option for the first time in panchayat elections in Gujarat,” Sinha said.
Giving logistic details about the elections, Sinha said that the Commission will be using 61,128 ballot boxes. Also, 5,296 election officers and 1,49,096 polling staff and more than 60,000 police officials will be ensuring smooth elections. In this election, it is mandatory for all the candidates for ward election and for sarpanch election to have a toilet at home. Sinha said that the candidates will have to make a declaration in this regard in their affidavit along with their nomination papers.
Voters will cast two votes in the elections; one for the sarpanch and one for the ward representative of their concerned wards. Sinha said that the declarations made by the contesting candidates will be put on the GSEC’s website for the first time. As per the Panchayats Department of Gujarat government, there are 14,017 gram panchayats in Gujarat while the total number of villages is 18,584.