The State Election Commission has reduced the polling time by two hours for the panchayat elections in the 11 mandals affected by the Left Wing Extremism (LWE) activities in the East Godavari Agency area.
In all, 78 gram panchayats have been declared as Naxalite-affected areas in the Agency, and many of them are sharing their borders with Chhattisgarh and Odisha.
“The State Election Commission has reduced the poll timing by two hours. Polling will now be conducted from 6.30 a.m. and 1.30 p.m. instead of up to 3.30 p.m. in the 11 mandals as they have been declared as LWE-affected areas,” Rampachodavaram Sub-Collector V.K. Seena Naik told The Hindu.
The 11 mandals that are scheduled to go to the polls on February 17 in the third of the four-phase elections are as follows: Rampachodavaram, Maredumilli, Devipatnam, Y. Ramavaram. Addateegala, Gangavaram. Rajavommangi, Chintoor, Kunavaram, V.R. Puram and Nellipaka.
The district authorities are making arrangements to help the Polavaram project displaced people of seven villages of Devipatnam mandal, who have been rehabilitated in the R&R Colonies, to exercise their franchise.
“Special bus services will be operated and bus passes are being issued to those rehabilitated in the R&R Colonies to enable them exercise their franchise in their respective panchayats,” said Mr. Seena Naik.
Meanwhile, the police have stepped up vigil in the Agency to prevent untoward incidents during the elections.