Andhra Pradesh Panchayat Election 2021: Polling for first of four phases of panchayat elections began on Tuesday in Andhra Pradesh. Polling for next three phases will take place on February 13, 17, and 21. Earlier, the polling was to begin on February 5 and end on February 17. However, the state government of YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, which was in favour of postponing the election, could not make required arrangements within the time following which the state election commission had to revise the schedule.
Total Panchayats in Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh has 13,054 panchayats spread into 13 districts — Srikakulam (1190), Vizianagaram (920), Visakhapatnam (925), East Godavari (1103), West Godavari (881), Krishna (980), Guntur (1022), Prakasam (1038), SPSR Nellore (940), Ananthapuram (1003), Chittoor (1372), YSR Kadappa (791), and Kurnool (889).
Panchayat Election Dates
Phase-I: February 9
Phase-II: February 13
Phase-III: February 17
Phase-IV: February 21
District-wise Panchayats going to polls in Phase-I
East Godavari: 366
West Godavari: 239
SPSR Nellore: 163
YSR Kadapa: 206
In the first phase, elections were to be held for 3,249 panchayats. However, 525 had already been unanimously elected and no nomination was filed for a village in Nellore district. Simultaneously, elections are also happening for over 20,000 wards. As many as 7,506 candidates tried their luck in the first phase and 43,601 are in the fray for ward members.
Election without party symbol
The panchayat elections don’t take place on party symbols. However, majority of candidates are backed by regional and national parties. In Andhra Pradesh, majority of votes go to three regional parties — YS Jagan Mohan Reddy’s YSRCP, Chandrababu Naidu’s TDP and Pawan Kalyan’s Jan Sena. In 2019 assembly polls, the ruling YSRCP got about 50 per cent vote share, TDP bagged close to 40 and Sena secured over 6 per cent.
Election using ballot paper
The gram panchayat elections are being held using ballot paper. The commission has set up 29,732 polling stations. Of these, 3,458 have been identified as sensitive and 3,594 hypersensitive. In the first phase, 7,500 candidates were in fray for over 2,700 panchayats. The counting of votes will take place the same day.
Counting of votes
As per notification, counting of votes will take place on the day of election. The voting time is from 6.30 am to 3.30. Counting of votes will begin at 4 PM on election day. First phase of election took place on Tuesday (February 9), and counting began after polling ended. Now, second phase of voting will take place on February 13, third on February 17 and fourth on February 21 — counting of votes will take place on the same day. Results will be declared after the completion of counting of votes.
3.6 lakh young voters to miss the voting
SEC Ramesh Kumar recently claimed that Panchayat Raj Principal Secretary and the Commissioner failed in providing the latest electoral rolls despite a clear assurance given to the High Court. As a result of their negligent and irresponsible action, he said, a grave situation has arisen wherein 3.6 lakh young voters who crossed the age of 18 years stand to lose their constitutional right to adult franchise.
Election process has been vitiated: SEC
The State Election Commission is conducting the panchayat election despite objection by government of YS Jagan Mohan Reddy. The government had also approached the highest courts but could not secure a stay. Recently, State Election Commissioner N Ramesh Kumar said that the election process had been vitiated as the district administration had not made arrangements for receiving nominations for the phase-I panchayat elections scheduled from January 25. “Under the circumstances, the Commission reschedules the Phase-1 elections,” Kumar said in a fresh notification on January 25.
On January 23, the state commission had issued the notification for the gram panchayat elections to be conducted in four phases from February 5. But, the state government authorities failed to make required arrangements, leading to delay in commencing the nomination process for phase-1. The poll body changed the date for phase-1 and schedules fixed for the subsequent phases remained unchanged. As per the revised notification, the elections slated for February 5 would now be held on February 21.