The timings for polling for the upcoming Zilla Parishad Territorial Constituency (ZPTC) and Mandal Parishad Territorial Constituency (MPTC) elections in Visakhapatnam districts has been reduced, reportedly over the prevailing ‘left-wing extremist problem.’ According to The New Indian Express, the duration of the polling in 11 Agency mandals in Paderu division of the district have been cut from the existing 7 am to 5 pm to 7 am to 2 pm. The polls are scheduled to be held on April 8.
The Hindu reports that the modified timings will apply the following mandals — Ananthagiri, Araku Valley, Dumbriguda, Hukumpeta, Pedabayulu, Munchingputtu, Paderu, G Madugula, Chintapalle, GK Veedhi and Koyyuru. District Collector V Vinay Chand told the Hindu that if the need for re-polling arises, it will be held the next day, April 9, from 7 am to 2 pm. The decision to cut short the polling time was taken to maintain the law-and-order situation and on the instructions from the State Election Commission.
The Andhra Pradesh State Election Commission had on April 1 issued the notification for resumption of the stalled poll process to the Mandal and Zilla Parishad territorial constituencies. As per the notification, the election will be held on April 8 and the counting of votes on April 10.
There are 9,696 MPTCs in the state, out of which 2,371 seats were won uncontested, with the ruling YSR Congress bagging 2,271 of them. The election will now be held for 7,322 seats. Of the 652 ZPTCs, 126 were won uncontested, all by the YSRC, and the election will now be conducted for 526 seats.
The State Election Commission saw hectic activity since Nilam Sawhney assumed charge as the new State Election Commissioner. She had held a meeting with Chief Secretary Aditya Nath Das and followed it up with all district collectors and police officials on the poll preparedness.
The SEC issued the notification for resuming the election process that was deferred on March 15 last year due to COVID-19 outbreak. "The SEC convened a meeting with senior officials and also held a video conference with Collectors and District Election Authorities and reviewed the preparedness for resumption of the election process of MPTCs and ZPTCs."
"The Commission, thoroughly satisfied with the inputs received from all officials, decided to resume the process," the Commission had said in a release. It said the model code of conduct has come into immediate effect in all rural areas of the state.
The SEC, in fact, invited all recognised and registered political parties for a discussion on April 2 at 11 am on the resumption of the poll process but it issued the notification ahead of the scheduled meeting.
With PTI inputs