Grama Panchayat Poll Results : Various Hues of Democracy on Display !
From Our Special Correspondent
Daijiworld Media Network
Bangalore, May 17: If unopposed election of as many as 7,878 candidates from among the total number of 2.32 lakh candidates in the fray for the two-phase polls for the 80,159 seats in the 5,474 grama panchayats of Karnataka was the first interesting part, the counting of votes in the respective taluk panchayats on Monday produced even more interesting results.
With closely contested elections in the several grama panchayats, there were many instances of candidates getting elected by a solitary vote for some seats while in some grama panchayat seats the winning candidate had to be chosen by lottery in view of the main rival candidates getting the same number of votes. Apart from these interesting features in the electoral results, the counting of votes and the declaration of results led to altercations, clashes in several places and even lathi-charge by the police to control the mob.
Well, that marked the display of various hues of democracy at the grass-roots in the first rung of the three-tier panchayat raj bodies which went to polls in two phases on May 8 and 12 in Karnataka with a little over 80% of the electorate exercising their franchise in the two phases unlike the very low percentage of around 44 in the Bruhat Bangalroe Mahanagara Palike elections held in March.
Counting of votes began as scheduled at 8 am in all the taluk headquarters for their respective grama panchayats in each district. But the State Election Commission authorities in Bangalore were unable to give a clear picture of the counting and official sources in the commission indicated that the results would be known only by Tuesday.
"It is difficult to give category-wise details of results, especially in multi-member constituencies,” the official sources said.
According to information reaching state headquarters, M Ramegowda of Nandagudi grama panchayat in Bangalore rural district was declared elected by a single-digit margin against his nearest rival N Nagesh in the seat reserved for Backward Class A category. A similar result was reported in Tolasi grama panchayat of K R Pet taluk of Mandya district when Lakshman was elected by a single vote. In another incident of Paduthonse grama panchayat of Udupi district, a couple – Sadiq and Fouzia – were declared elected.
There was another incident of a candidate being declared elected by the returning officer of Salagrama panchayat by lottery in view of the tie in the votes secured by the two main contestants as provided under the rules of the Karnataka Panchayat Raj Act.
The defeat of the candidate of Hebbur gram panchayat in the district by a single vote led to the clash. The police arrested three persons in connection with the incident. Supporters of a winning candidate attacked a defeated candidate at Abbigere gram panchayat of Ron taluk in Gadag district. The injured person was later shifted the nearby hospital.
Reports reaching here said Venkata Reddy, candidate, who contested the Mandikal gram panchayat elections in Chickballapur district, had not received even a single vote. If the reports are correct, evidently the candidate himself did not vote for him.
In a family contest in Tubigere grama panchayat in Mandya taluk, Pushpalatha defeat her mother-in-law Jayamma by a narrow margin.
In Hoskote taluk of Bangalore rural district, four grama panchayats did not have to go through the process of elections and as many as 111 grama panchayat seats had their representatives getting elected unopposed which is perhaps a first of its kind in the entire state, according to the returning officer.
Reports reaching here said, uberappa (40) attempted to commit suicide in Mudhol gram panchayat limits of Yalburga taluk of Koppal district following his defeat in the elections by a mere 3 votes by consuming poision. He was immediately shifted to the district hospital in Gadag where he is said to be recovering.
Clashes between the police and supporters of candidates were reported from several districts. Supporters of a candidate entered into an argument with the police and the police caned the unruly mob at the counting centre located at the Government Polytechnic in Tumkur.
The police also resorted to lathicharge in Hassan district when supporters of rival candidates staged protests opposing delay in the commencement of the counting process. In Sindhanur taluk, an unruly mob pelted stones at the counting centre opposing delay in the announcement of results.