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Elections 2021

K'taka SEC countermands 13 gram panchayat seats

IANS | December 19, 2020 08:11 AM

BENGALURU: Taking a serious note of auctioning of gram panchayat seats that reported in few districts, Karnataka State Election Commission countermanded elections to 13 constituencies of Sindigeri gram panchayt in Kurgod Taluk of Ballari district on Friday.

According to the SEC order, rural voters auctioned 13 seats at the Ishwar temple in Byluru village that is part of the Sindigeri gram panchayat.

"The unopposed candidates agreed to pay the total sum of Rs 51.20 lakh in the name of deity after the completion of Elections on December 22 if none contests against them, " said the order.

"Ballari Tahasildar (Elections) scrutinised after a local daily reported about the auctioning of these seats to elect candidates 'Unopposed' in the ensuing polls that is slated on December 22, " the order said.

The SEC order also quoted the Ballari Deputy Commissioner, who is also returning officer recommended in his report that these 'Unopposed' candidates must be barred from contesting future elections and this is for the purpose of avoiding repetition of auctioning of seats in upcoming elections too.

The SEC also takes cognisance of electorate being influenced by using religious places to get elected unopposed. "These unopposed candidates have misused the temple premises as a platform for auctioning seats that amounts to violation of Model Code of Conduct and also scuttled the process of elections, " the order by the State Election Commissioner B. Basavaraju stated.

The SEC has also noted that cases of auctioning in Kalaburagi, Kolar, Hassan, Chitradurga and Raichur districts were reported and police cases in respective jurisdictions were lodged.

This time around, auctioning of gram panchayat seats had become rampantly evident due to emergence of social media and WhatsApp.

It is worth noting here that even before single ballot was cast as many as 4, 377 candidates have been declared elected unopposed and 40, 352 have withdrawn their candidature in the first phase polling for 3, 109 gram panchayats is slated on December 22.

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