By Sharon Thambala
Amaravati, Feb 14 : Being held under the Covid shadow, the ongoing panchayat polls in Andhra Pradesh are witnessing the same colour, theatrics and human interest stories that accompany elections in India at all levels.
Though there was uncertainty whether the polls to the rural local bodies would be held as announced by the State Election Commission, the Supreme Court’s dismissal of the state government’s appeal to defer them led to the four phase elections kick off.
As the polls are midway, some interesting aspects include village volunteers contesting polls, a contestant wearing a gown to campaign, siblings testing electoral waters and alcohol and money allegedly being distributed as usual.
In Nellore district, two siblings are contesting but for different panchayats.
Piduru Venugopal Reddy contested the election In Nellurupalli village while his younger sister Sannareddy Rajani fought for the Nellaballi panchayati.
In Vizianagaram district, a government official’s mother is in the fray. Krishna District Joint Collector Lotheti Sivashankar’s mother Lotheti Krishnaveni filed her nomination for the sarpanch’s post in Srungavarapukota village.
A good number of village and ward volunteers are contesting, and a few have also won.
Three former village volunteers managed to win the Sarpanch posts in Visakhapatnam district. Ainampudi Bhaskar Raju won in Melipaka, Padmarekha in Mangalapuram and Karaka Rajyalakshmi in Jamadulapalem.
Subhalekha, a former village volunteer from Muthyalacheruvu village in Ananthapur district’s Kadiri mandal, has filed her nomination for the sarpanch post and so did three others. However, all three withdrew them, recognising the service Subhalekha rendered as a volunteer, enabling her to win unanimously.
A young Russia-educated doctor contested the Sarpanch election in Guntur district recently.
Jada Jitin Dev, who was working as a doctor in Guntur town, sought to test his electoral prospects in his village Gopalamvaripalem.
In Guntur district’s Pedakurapadu village of Krosuru mandal, former sarpanch, Picchayya Chowdary, donned the garb of Satyaharischanduru, a mythological character to campaign and propel Janga Soubaghyalakshmi’s electoral prospects for the sarpanch post.
Meanwhile, Gundepudi village in Krishna district has emerged as one of the smallest panchayats in fray during the second phase of elections which happened on Saturday.
Gundepudi separated from Polukonda panchayati in 1956. It is 20 km far away from Nandiwada, with a population of just 196 people, out of which 150 are voters.
Among these 150, 74 were men and 76 women. Despite being one of the smallest panchayats, the village hasn’t seen unanimous elections until now, though bigger villages with far larger populations were going for unanimous polls.
Setting an example that come what may one must always keep fighting, a contestant in Guntur district straightaway went from the hospital to file her nomination papers.
Eluru Aruna was suffering from an ailment related to the nerves. She even had to be put on a ventilator but on the last day of nominations and in a better condition after treatment, she drove down to Chamallamudi office to file her papers.
As she reached the office, the poll officials, empathising with her, went to her car to take her papers.
In East Godavari district’s Kadiyam village, famous for horticulture, a 92-year-old woman mustered all her strength to personally visit the office and file nomination for a ward member’s post.
In a peculiar development, a panchayat election contestant at Gummalaxmipuram in Vizianagaram district literally wore his election symbol — a gown — to impress upon the voters to cast their vote in his favour.
Munukoti Srinivasa Rao and his best friend wore a gown each and went into the market to canvas for Rao’s candidature for a ward.
Two more phases of elections are due.
(Sharon Thambala can be contacted at email@example.com)
Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated from IANS service.