The first phase of the panchayat elections in 20 mandals in Chittoor revenue division went peacefully, registering more than 80% turnout.
The voting, which began at 6.30 a.m., picked up momentum and crossed 50% in all the mandals by noon. After a brief respite for an hour, the polling touched its peak by the time the schedule got closed at 4.00 p.m. The mandals of Bangarupalem, Irala, Puthalapattu, Tavanampalle in Puthalapattu assembly constituency received overwhelming response from the voters.
Deputy Superintendent of Police (Law and Order) N. Sudhakar Reddy inspected the booths in Chittoor, Irala, Puthalapattu and SR Puram mandals. He said over 3,000 police personnel were deployed in the first phase, and additional forces were posted at 115 sensitive areas, followed by three-tier security pattern. He said that the polling was peaceful in the entire Chittoor revenue division.
The panchayats in Karveti Nagaram and Palasamudram mandals witnessed heavy polling, followed by those in Nagari constituency, represented by APIIC chairperson R.K. Roja.
The police personnel were seen helping the septuagenarians and physically challenged voters to reach the polling booths. A 92-year-old woman, Munemma, of Jilledupalle village in Bangarupalem mandal remained caught attention as a police constable carried her to the booth to help her cast the vote.
By 7.00 p.m., as the counting of votes had progressed, trends showed that it was a landslide victory for candidates of sarpanch and ward members supported by the ruling YSR Congress Party in the first phase.
Meanwhile, according to reports, the first phase of panchayat polls was peaceful in Kurnool district, with no trouble reported from anywhere. Collector G. Veerapandian said that by 10.30 a.m., the voting percentage was 45.86, and it was 70.60 by 12.30 p.m.. By the time the voting was closed, the percentage had crossed over 80.