Gram panchayat polls see 80.23% turnout in Thane district
The Covid-19 pandemic failed to dampen the spirit of the voters who turned out in huge number at the 146 gram panchayats in Thane district to cast their on Friday. Long queues were observed outside most polling booths in the district from the morning. The election commission informed that the voting was done following all the Covid social distancing norms.
The Thane district recorded 80.23 per cent of votes at the end of the day.
A total of a little over two lakh voters including 94,602 women and 1.06L men cast their votes. The total number of registered voters in Thane district is 2.50 lakh.
Vaibhav Mhatre, 25, who runs a transport business, said, “Voters in our gram panchayat got a chance to vote after 15 years as in all the previous elections candidates won unopposed and no voting was required. The Anjur dive gram panchayat had last held elections in 2005. There are several issues related to roads and land disputes, which led to a few unpleasant scenarios in the election this year.”
The officials claimed that the first round of voting was conducted without any glitch following proper social distancing norms by both the voters and the staff at the polling stations.
“There is no glitch reported as of now and voting went smoothly. Amidst the pandemic, the polling booths had a good amount of voters coming to cast their vote. Our staff was ensuring the voters’ temperature was checked before they entered the booth,” said Balasaheb Waghchoure, deputy collector, Thane district.
The election was conducted in 143 gram panchayats of Thane, Bhiwandi, Kalyan, Ambernath, Murbad and Shahapur Taluka. A total of 2,231 candidates were in the fray for 996 seats.
Non-cognisable offence against three
The Manpada police have booked a non-cognisable offence against three who were found distributing cash in Khoni village in Kalyan Taluka on Thursday night, a day before the gram panchayat elections.
The police suspect that the trio were distributing on behalf of a candidate contesting from the village. Investigation is on.
“We are not sure whether the cash distribution was for the election. We are investigating the matter. A non-cognisable offence has been registered against three in this matter,” said Abhishek Shinde, assistant police inspector, Manpada police station.
Ruckus by two groups in Khoni
Supporters of two candidates who gathered at the zilla parishad school polling station at the Khoni gram panchayat indulged in a tiff and created ruckus during the last round of the voting. In Khoni gram panchayat, 24 candidates were contesting for 11 seats.
Since morning, the entire procedure was conducted smoothly. However, during the last round, there was a tiff between two groups outside the polling station. This led to a chaotic situation. The on-duty police, however, managed to control the chaos and disperse the crowd.
Khoni gram panchayat was identified as one of the sensitive villages and since eight days, continuous patrolling of police was present at the village.
A police officer from Kalyan zone 3 said, “It was not a serious matter. Some groups initiated a tiff and our team immediately dispersed them from the polling station and the situation was under control.”