Following complaints alleging the auction of the posts of sarpanches, the Maharashtra State Election Commission (SEC) on Monday asked all the district collectors to conduct detailed inquiries into the matter and submit a report.
Elections to 14,234 gram panchayats in 34 districts of the state, which were deferred due to the Covid-19 pandemic, will be held on January 15. For gram panchayat polls, Monday was the last day to withdraw candidate nominations.
“The commission has received complaints about the auction of posts of sarpanches with large sums being offered for it. It is a serious matter in terms of conducting gram panchayat elections in a free, fearless and transparent environment. So, if such incidents have taken place in the districts, they should be thoroughly investigated and a report with self-explanatory remarks should be submitted,” said U P S Madan, state election commissioner.
Madan further said the possibility of putting pressure on other candidates to withdraw their candidatures cannot be ruled out. “To prevent such incidents, a detailed report should be sent to the commission immediately. Candidates should be declared as the unopposed winner only after the approval of the commission,” he added.
In the last month, there were reports about an auction being held for the post of sarpanch at a few places and at some places, local leaders and MLAs offered to pay higher amounts to elect members to the gram panchayat unopposed.
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