KURNOOL: Candidates in the fray in the first phase of the ensuing gram panchayat elections have raised the pitch of their respective campaigns while going around villages seeking votes in Nandyal division. Those allotted symbols like scissors, basket, and cot are prominently displaying the symbols in order to catch the attention and win support of the electorate across villages.
It is estimated that money spent on publicity appears to be crossing the limit of Rs 2.5 lakh for a village with 10,000 population and Rs 1.5 lakh in villages with less than 10,000 people. One contesting as a ward member should spend a maximum of Rs 50,000. However, the ceiling on expenditure seems ridiculously low if one were to go by the money spent by the candidates in villages.
District election expenditure observer N Vineet Kumar said that all the candidates must conform to the expenditure limits. He said they have to maintain an expenditure register and log all the money spent on canvassing. He held a review meeting with officials at Nandyal on Saturday and asked officials to stay alert and keep track of any breaches in the expenditure ceiling.
Meanwhile, villagers are finding new ways to circumvent the State Election Commission (SEC) watch over unanimous elections in Kurnool district. Pandurangapuram village near Nandyal is a model village as it is fully inhabited by migrants from Guntur district. The village was found by migrant farmers from Munnangi, Tenali, Duggirala, and Guntur who took the call of former chief minister Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy to cultivate lands on the banks of the KC Canal. Since then they have been growing three crops every year and are prospering, said Venktarami Reddy, a villager.
He said Pandurangapuram is set for elections.
“Our villagers are united and choose their leader on a consensus basis. We are away from any kind of controversies and politics. The entire village backs YSR Congress party as they fondly remember Dr Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy who helped them in their farming activities. But due to the SEC ruling on unanimous elections, we are fielding dummy candidates to give a semblance of contest,” he said.
Dolavathy is the panchayat president candidate here against a TD opponent, he said.