About 70% polling in panchayat elections in Guj

About 70% polling in panchayat elections in Guj Ahmedabad: Around 70 per cent polling was recorded in the elections to 8,250 village panchayats in Gujarat on Thursday, State Election Commission (SEC) officials said.

"Average polling of 70 per cent was recorded in the village panchayats elections. Barring few incidents of violence, the elections passed off peacefully as we had made elaborate security arrangements," secretary of SEC PS Shah said, adding about 97,000 candidates were in fray.

Though the panchyat elections are not fought on party symbols, the BJP had put up candidates under the 'Sadbhavna panel' in most of the panchayats while the Congress had named their panels as 'Shanti' or 'Vikas'.

Polling was held by use of ballot papers and the counting will be done on December 31.

The state election commission published a notification on November 19, 2011 regarding organising elections in 10,405 village panchayats. Out of which 2,147 panchayats were declared as 'Samras' where village people come together and decide their representatives without elections.

Meanwhile, in Pav village of Dahod district, the brother of a candidate for sarpanch, Pratap Sanghol, was shot dead by a group of rival faction, police officials of Dahod said. The election commission has cancelled polling in the village.

In the Goghas village of the same district, a group of around 20 people tried to take away ballot boxes from poll officials, but the police party accompanying officials foiled the attempt and have arrested all of them, police said.

"We have recorded four cases of booth capturing from the state, where polling was suspended. In all these cases, re-polling will be held tomorrow," Shah said.

"In nine cases, polling was cancelled due to mistakes in ballot papers. Re-polling will also be held in all the nine villages tomorrow," he said.

There is lot of interest about the panchayat elections in the state as they are being seen here as a semi-final of the next year's state assembly elections.