VIJAYAWADA: Barring some untoward, but minor, incidents, the fourth and final phase of gram panchayat elections concluded smoothly across the 13 districts on Sunday. According to reports, the fourth phase polling stood at 82.85 per cent.
Elections were held in 16 revenue divisions and 161 mandals. Polling commenced by 6.30 am and concluded around 3.30 pm and counting began by 4 pm.
There was a steady rush of voters right from 6.30 am. The polling percentage was 13.42% at 8.30 am, 41.55% by 10.30 am, 66.60% by 12.30 pm, 78.90% at 2.30 pm and finally 82.85% by the end of polling.
The highest percentage was recorded in Vizianagaram district at 87.09 per cent while the lowest percentage was in Nellore district with 76 per cent. The polling percentage in other districts was Srikakulam (83.59), Visakhapatnam (86.94), East Godavari (80.30), West Godavari (83.76), Krishna (85.64), Guntur (84.92), Prakasam (82.04), Chittoor (78.77), Kadapa (85.13), Anantapur (84.49) and Kurnool at 78.41 per cent.
In the entire four phases, those elected unanimously were 2,197 sarpanches and 47,459 ward members. In the first phase in 12 districts, 525 sarpanches and 12,182 ward members were elected unanimously. In the second phase, it was 539 sarpanches and 12,603 ward members while it was 579 sarpanches and 11,753 ward members in the third and 554 sarpanches and 10,921 ward members in the fourth phase. Approximately 2,77,17,784 cast their votes overall.
Meanwhile, local leaders objected to the entry of a volunteer in a polling booth to help his family members at Pataravicharla village in the Nuziveedu Mandal of Krishna district and created a ruckus. Police personnel rushed to the spot and restrained the volunteer from entering the booth, which helped resume the polling process. In another instance, two groups clashed with each other at Lakkrajugarlapadu in Sattenapalli Mandal of Guntur district while trying to enter the polling booth. However, the police foiled those attempts.
Panchayat Raj principal secretary Gopal Krishna Dwivedi said that people in large numbers participated in the poll process. He greeted everyone involved in the conduct of elections, including polling booth-level officers, district collectors and their teams and state level teams.