Updated: February 22, 2021 1:17:38 pm
Counting for the fourth phase of Gram Panchayat elections is underway in Andhra Pradesh after polling ended at 4 pm on Sunday. Elections were held for 2,744 Gram panchayats and 22,422 wards in 161 mandals of 13 districts. High voter turnout was witnessed in Guntur division, East Godavari and Adoni.
However, a few incidents of violence, mostly in Guntur district, marred the fourth and final phase of elections.
Police resorted to lathicharge at a couple of places in Guntur district to quell clashing mobs while polling agents of candidates were allegedly beaten up in some places, police sources told news agency PTI.
In Sattenapalli constituency, agents of rival candidates clashed with each other inside a polling station and suffered injuries. Both were rushed to the hospital for treatment.
At Mutluru village near Guntur, a polling agent attempted to immolate himself after rivals allegedly thrashed him inside a polling station, the sources said.
This led to tension in the village as villagers alleged that police remained mute spectators while the miscreants jumped over the polling station compound wall and carried out the attack on the agent.
“Some stray incidents do happen but we have acted swiftly. We will bring the culprits involved in the violent incidents to book, Guntur Urban district Superintendent of Police Ammi Reddy told reporters.
Already, 554 sarpanches were declared elected unopposed. According to the State Election Commission, more than 80 per cent polling was recorded in each of the four phases of elections to the panchayats.
In the third phase of panchayat elections, the Opposition Telugu Desam Party suffered a huge setback after the ruling YSR Congress Party bagged over 87% of the panchayats in the Kuppam Assembly constituency, which is represented by former chief minsiter Nara Chandrababu Naidu. YSRCP candidates won 73 out of 87 panchayats in Kuppam.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Reddy’s party also secured over 80% panchayats in both the phase 1 and 2 polls. The Leader of Opposition, Chandrababu Naidu, had complained to the State Election Commission alleging mass manipulation of the election results.
Elections to the urban local bodies, scheduled for March 10, will be a direct fight between the political parties, as also the polls to mandal and zilla parishads the second and third tiers of the Panchayat Raj structure will also showcase the real strength of the parties.
The State Election Commission is yet to announce the dates for the mandal and zilla parishad elections, which have been abruptly deferred in March last year due to Covid-19 outbreak, as it is seeking legal opinion on the way ahead.
With PTI inputs
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