Gram Panchayat polls not fought on party symbols, but parties in active mode

Gram Panchayat elections are supposed to be fought on non-party basis. Candidates contest the polls without party symbol.

But in reality all three major political parties have become hyper active with the process for elections being held at the grassroots level of democracy underway in the State.
Monday was the last date for filing nominations for the first phase of elections. As many as 15 districts are covered and till Saturday 88,000 nominations were received.

The nominations for the second phase of polls have begun. There are nearly 90,000 seats being contested spread across the 6,073 GPs. As much as 50 per cent of the total seats are reserved for women. And, women are also allowed to contest seats meant for general category. Counting of votes is on June 5. The government has set aside Rs 66 crore for holding the polls.

The Congress and the JD(S) consider themselves as having strong votes base in villages, while the BJP has been claiming that it has spread its roots beyond cities.
Senior leaders such as G Parameshwara, H D Kumaraswamy or Jagadish Shettar are not directly campaigning at the GP level. But they have fixed the responsibility on party MLAs, taluk and block level leaders. In case of the BJP, it has formed teams of the candidates in villages. Voters can easily identify candidates with their political affiliations, party sources said.

Sources in the BJP said that there are too many people in villages interested in contesting GP polls. These local bodies have become ‘power centres’ with huge funds at their disposal. Identifying beneficiaries for the mega schemes such as Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and Ashraya Housing Scheme is the responsibility of the GP members, the sources pointed out.

Sources in the State Election Commission said that the elections are bitterly fought in villages as political awareness is high among rural people. Maintaining law and order is a challenge for the police, sources said.
DH News Service

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