Maharashtra: Election to two gram panchayats cancelled following allegations of post auctioning
The state election commission (SEC) has cancelled the process of election for two gram panchayats in north Maharashtra after the state machinery found substance in the reports of auctions for the post of village sarpanch and panchayat members. The election process for Umrane gram panchayat in Nashik and Khondamali gram panchayat in Nandurbar has been scrapped. Elections will be held for 14,234 gram panchayats on January 15.
State election commissioner UPS Madan said that the elections to these gram panchayats have been cancelled after reports by the district collector, election observers, sub-divisional officers and the scrutiny of documents and audio clips have established that auctions had taken place for the posts of sarpanchs and members. “The commission, therefore, has decided to cancel the election process in these two village bodies. We have also directed district police authorities to initiate action against the people involved in it under section 171 (C) of the Indian Penal Code and submit a report. Police have already registered a complaint regarding the auctions,” said Madan.
The commission had received several complaints after video and audio clips of the auctions in several villages went viral ahead of the filing of nominations for the posts of sarpanch and members. The commission said that such incidents are a violation of the code of conduct and fundamental principles of democracy, and hamper equal opportunity to all to contest the elections. Social activist Anna Hazare had criticised such incidents, calling them an “auction of democracy” and demanded the strictest action.
Additionally, the SEC has allowed Covid-19 affected people, those in isolation centres and people with symptoms to vote in the gram panchayat elections in the concluding 30 minutes on January 15.