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Nashik: Polls in two gram panchayats called off over auction of posts

The SEC said there were reports of public auctioning of the posts of sarpanch and members of the Umrane and Khondamali gram panchayats in Nashik and Nandurbar districts, respectively.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai | January 13, 2021 10:01:36 pm
Maharashtra Panchayat election,The elections were by and large peaceful with Covid-19 protocols in place. The counting will take place on January 18. (Representational)

The State Election Commission (SEC) has cancelled polling in two gram panchayats in Nashik and Nandurbar districts, just two days before it was slated to be held, after receiving evidence of public auctioning of the posts of sarpanch and members.

In a statement, the SEC said that there were reports of public auctioning of the posts of sarpanch and members of the Umrane and Khondamali gram panchayats in Nashik and Nandurbar districts, respectively. The commission had also received some complaints and sought reports from the officials involved in the election process.

“After studying the reports from district collectors, poll observers, sub-divisional officers and tehsildars, the Commission has taken the decision of cancelling the election to the two gram panchayats,” the statement said.

The SEC has instructed the district collectors and superintendents of police of Nashik and Nandurbar to take action as per the law and submit report.

“Pressure from a few villagers had let down the candidates who wanted to contest the polls. It also deprived the voters of exercising their right in both the villages. It is a violation of the model code of conduct. Such practices cannot give equal opportunity to all people. To conduct elections in a fearless, free and transparent manner, the SEC has canceled the polling in both the gram panchayats,” said State Election Commissioner UPS Madan.

The elections to 14,234 gram panchayats in 34 districts of the state, which were deferred due to the pandemic, will be held on January 15.

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