Polling begins for Panchayat, first time municipal polls in Arunachal Pradesh

Last Updated: Thu, May 16, 2013 07:02 hrs

Polling for Panchayat elections and the first time municipal elections began across Arunachal Pradesh at 7 a.m. this morning.

Voters started lining up at polling booths, even as adequate security measures have been taken to prevent poll violence.

According to reports, around 90 percent polling booths in Itanagar municipal segment are hyper-sensitive and fool-proof security arrangement have been made to check any unwanted incidents.

Ballot boxes are being used for the panchayat elections while voting for municipal polls is being conducted using electronic voting machines.

Polling is being held in 30 wards in Itanagar and while 10 wards in Pasighat in insurgency hit Tirap district.

Campaigning for for panchayat elections came to an end, along with campaigning for Itanagar and Pasighat municipalities, on Tuesday evening.

The notification for panchayat election, along with municipal polls, was issued on April 16. A total of 5, 83, 409 voters will exercise their franchise for 2902 (out of total 7403) gram panchayat seats, 1073 (out of 1785) anchal samities and 147 (out of 177) zilla parishads to be held in 1841 polling stations across the state.

Altogether 12, 356 candidates are in the fray for the panchayat polls being held for the third time in the state, State Election Commission sources said.

Altogether 30 zilla parishad members (ZPM), 692 anchal samiti members (ASM) and 4481 gram panchayat members (GPM) were elected unopposed this time while 41 seats for ASM and GPM remained vacant as no nomination was filed for these seats.

Altogether 102 candidates are trying their luck in municipal polls to be held for the first time in Itanagar and Pasighat in East Siang district. Out of total 30 ward councillor seats in Itanagar and 12 in Pasighat, election will be held in 39 wards as three Congress candidates, including two in Pasighat Municipality, were elected unopposed.

The ruling Congress has fielded 34 candidates (excluding three unopposed), while opposition BJP (29) followed by Peoples' Party of Arunachal (12), NCP (10) and 14 Independent candidates.

State Election Commissioner K D Singh said ballot papers voting will be used for panchayat elections while Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) will be used for the municipal elections.

"There is an increase of 8 per cent in the number of voters from the last panchayat elections in 2008," added Singh. The SEC is expecting a better turnout of voters this time from the 80 per cent turnout last time.

Chief minister Nabam Tuki has appealed to people to exercise their franchise with confidence for a vibrant democracy at the grassroots.

He said that voters in Arunachal Pradesh had the right to decide their future, and therefore, must utilise their vote without fear or prejudice.

He expressed optimism that the election process would be completed successfully without any hindrance. (ANI)

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