Panchayat by-polls for 131 seats in Arunachal on 12 July, no polling in Vijaynagar

ITANAGAR, 7 Jun: The State Election Commission on Tuesday announced by-polls to 130 gram panchayat seats, along with one zilla parishad seat, on 12 July.

Election to 40 gram panchayat seats and one in zilla parishad in the Vijaynagar administrative subdivision in Changlang district have, however, been kept pending due to law and order and other administrative issues, State Election Commissioner (SEC) Hage Kojeen told media persons here on Tuesday.

Kojeen said that 11 seats have been excluded from the election process due to court cases pending before the Election Tribunal and the Itanagar bench of the Gauhati High Court.

“The seats where elections will be held fell vacant due to reasons ranging from rejection of nomination papers during the local bodies election in December 2020, unavailability of eligible candidates, disqualification under anti-defection laws, law and order problem to death and resignation by several winning candidates,” he said.

The by-polls will be held at 101 polling stations spread across 20 districts of the state. An estimated 7,000 voters are eligible to exercise their franchise.

Among the districts, Lower Subansiri has the highest number of vacancies with 41 gram panchayat seats, followed by 11 in Upper Subansiri, nine in Lower Dibang Valley, seven each in East Siang and West Siang and six each in East and West Kameng districts, respectively, he said.

The notification for the panchayat by-poll will be issued on 14 June, and 21 June has been fixed as the last date for filing nominations. Scrutiny of papers will be held on 23 June, while the last date for withdrawal of papers has been fixed on 27 June, Kojeen said.

Counting of votes will be held on 16 July, he added.

“A consultative meeting with the state government was held recently, wherein relevant issues, including security arrangements, were discussed to ensure free, fair and peaceful election,” he said.

The SEC had also conducted review meeting with all the district election officers on election preparedness.

More than 500 election officials will be involved in the panchayat by-polls, excluding security personnel. Election observers will be deployed as per requirement on the recommendation of the district election officers, while two special observers from outside would also be present.

The SEC appealed to all the stakeholders and political parties to extend their support in conducting the by-elections in a free, fair and peaceful manner.

Arunachal has a total of 8,145 gram panchayat and 242 zilla parishad seats. (PTI)