Hyderabad: The State Election Commissioner (SEC) Dr V Nagi Reddy on Tuesday released the notification for elections to 12,732 gram panchayats in the State in three phases – January 21, 25 and 30.
Speaking to mediapersons here, he said about 1.49 crore voters will be exercising their franchise in the local body elections. The first phase of election will be held on January 21 in 4,480 villages for which schedule will be released on January 7, the second phase elections will cover 4,137 gram panchayats for which schedule will be issued on January 11 and the last phase of election will be for 4,115 gram panchayats on January 30 for which the schedule will be released on January 16. Polling will be from 7AM to 1PM.
The SEC said that elections will also be held for 1.13 lakh ward members in these villages simultaneously. Elections will not be held in 19 villages since the term of gram panchayats in 17 villages is yet to be completed while court cases were pending in the case of two other villages.
Nagi Reddy said after completion of elections, counting of votes will be taken up immediately and the winning ward members and sarpanches will be announced the same day. “Selection of deputy sarpanches should also be completed the same day after declaring results of sarpanches and ward members,” he said.
On the expenditure allowed for candidates, he said that for sarpanches in villages having more than 5,000 voters, the limit was Rs 2.50 lakh and Rs 50,000 for ward members. In villages having less than 5,000 voters, the candidates’ are permitted to spend Rs 1.50 lakh for sarpanch and Rs 30,000 for ward members.
The SEC said that apart from voter identification card, there are 18 other identification cards which will also be accepted for voters to exercise their franchise.
He said no Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) will be used for local body elections and only ballot papers will be used with common symbols for all villages. “Around 1.5 lakh officials will take part in election duties and they will be randomly selected through computer,” he said, adding that the non-refundable deposit for sarpanch election in general category will be Rs 2,000 and Rs 1,000 for reserved category. Candidates contesting as ward members have to deposit Rs 500 for general category and Rs 250 for reserved wards.
State Election Commissioner said no new schemes and official reviews can be conducted with the model code of conduct coming into force from Tuesday.