GP polls peaceful in Ballari with 81.22 % turnout

Voters, including first timers and the aged, enthusiastically exercise their franchise in almost every village

Barring a couple of incidents, elections to 85 gram panchayats in Ballari, Kurugodu, Siruguppa, Hosapete and Kampli taluks of Ballari district went off peacefully on Tuesday. Except a polling station at Tolamamadi village in Shankarabande Gram Panchayat, where polling was cancelled as a wrong symbol was printed on the ballot paper in place of the allotted one, polling in the remaining 701 polling stations was conducted without any major issues.

Voters from different age groups, including first-time voters and the aged, were found enthusiastically exercising their franchise in almost every village. At Sanganakal village in Ballari taluk, 99-year-old Lakshmamma came to the polling station with the help of the villagers and cast her vote. Voter turnout, which was 12.09 % at 9 a.m., gradually went up to 69.45 % by 3 p.m. and to 81.22 % by 5 p.m. Except for 331 seats, for which members were elected unopposed, polling was held for 1,372 seats, for which 3,288 candidates contested, in the first phase.

The district administration had made elaborate arrangements apart from deploying 3,600 polling staff. In view of the COVID-19 situation, the polling staff were found screening voters with thermal scanners and spraying sanitiser on their hands before allowing them inside the polling station. Accredited Social Health Activists were found asking voters to wear face masks.

Wrong symbol

Meanwhile, a wrong symbol printed on the ballot paper led to a chaos for a while in Tolamamadi village of Shankarabande Gram Panchayat.

As per information provided by the district administration, the symbol of cylinder was wrongly printed against the name of Padmavathi, the candidate, instead of the symbol of pot which was officially allotted to her.

As the news reached the district headquarters, Ballari Deputy Commissioner S.S. Nakul, along with Superintendent of Police Saidulu Adavath, Additional Commissioner Ramesh Konareddy and Tahsildar Rehman Pasha, rushed to the polling station and verified it.

Mr. Nakul immediately cancelled polling in that particular polling station. โ€œA report on the development has been submitted to the State Election Commission and a show-cause notice has been issued to the Returning Officer. Polling in the polling station would be held another day or on December 27 when the second phase of elections is scheduled,โ€ Mr. Nakul said.

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