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Friday, Nov 15, 2019

Uttarakhand panchayat poll counting held peacefully, over 5,500 results out

More than 6,000 officials were involved in counting of votes for the three-phase panchayat elections and the fate of over 35,000 candidates was sealed.

dehradun Updated: Oct 22, 2019 08:03 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times, Dehradun/Pithoragarh
A winner celebrates his win with his supporters after announcement of results for Uttarakhand panchayat polls, Monday, October 21, 2019.
A winner celebrates his win with his supporters after announcement of results for Uttarakhand panchayat polls, Monday, October 21, 2019.(HT Photo )
         

The counting for more than 7,000 gram panchayats was held peacefully on Monday. The counting process was likely to be completed by Tuesday morning if it didn’t get over by Monday nigh, officials said.

More than 6,000 officials were involved in counting of votes for the three-phase panchayat elections and the fate of over 35,000 candidates was sealed. Votes were counted for 7,485 posts of gram pradhan, 2,984 posts of kshetra panchayat member and 356 posts for zila panchayat member.

Results for about 2,700 posts of gram panchayat pradhan, over 800 posts of kshetra panchayat member and ten posts of zila panchayat member were announced till late Monday evening.

The election commission set up 1,233 counting tables across the 12 districts where elections were held. Maximum numbers of counting tables were set up in districts like Udham Singh Nagar (184), Pithoragarh (110), Almora (122), Pauri Garhwal (159) and Tehri Garhwal (133). Total 69.56% voter turnout was recorded for all the three phases of elections held on October 5, 11 and 16. In the last panchayat elections in 2014, overall 70.06% polling was recorded, according to election commission data.

An official from the election commission, requesting anonymity, said, “Panchayat elections are not conducted on the basis of political parties. Each candidate is given an individual sign and they contest on their own, however some candidates are supported by political parties. Once the results are declared, parties claim victory based on the candidates that they supported.”

In Pithoragarh zila panchayat elections, Deepika Chuphal, daughter of former cabinet minister and state BJP president Bishan singj Chuphal, lost to Congress-backed candidate Bansidhar Bhatt by a margin of over 1,299 votes in Chitgalgaon seat of Didihat block.

Deepika Chuphal got 2,090 votes and Bansidhar Bhatt 3,389 out of 6,616 votes cast in the Chitgalgaon seat. Chuphal was being tipped as zila panchayat chairperson under reserved seat of OBC woman.

“After her defeat, the calculation of BJP has been badly disturbed as rest of the OBC women candidates in the fray do not have connections with BJP,” said Gopal Dutt Ojha, former Didihat MLA and senior Congress leader on the district

According to BJP leaders, except the Chitgalgaon defeat, most of the party-backed candidates are winning the election for zila panchayat in the district. Congress leaders said that most of the winning candidates are Independents who have inclination towards Congress. “It seems that Congress is making big return in Pithoragarh zila panchayat this time,” said MD Joshi, spokesperson of state Congress committee.

For post of gram panchayat pradhan, 1,515 candidates have been declared to have won unopposed. For kshetra panchayat member posts, 299 candidates and for zila panchayat member posts 9 candidates have been declared to have won unopposed.

Official records show that of the total 21,504 reserved posts, 852 posts for Scheduled Tribe, 7855 posts for Scheduled Caste and 867 posts for Other Backward Classes remained uncontested this year. Over 18,000 posts reserved for women candidates in the state also remained uncontested. The election commission will conduct by-elections for these vacant seats within a month’s time as otherwise panchayat governance will be affected due to the non-formation of gram sabhas.

This time, young women candidates have performed well in the panchayat elections. Haldwani, Dehradun and even remote areas like Champawat have witnessed young female candidates emerging as winners.

In the three-phase elections, 7485 gram panchayats went to polls with over 43.11 lakh voters participating in the polling. Elections were held in 8051 polling centres on October 5, October 11 and October 16. The elections have been mired in controversies this year, starting with delay in its announcement to changes made by the state government with regard to the criteria for contesting the polls. Many people were not happy with the changes brought in the Panchayat Raj Act 2016 with regard to Class 10 basic qualification and two-child norm. It was only after a PIL was filed in the Uttarakhand high court that the state government announced the poll schedule.