A total of 10,879 village panchayats (local bodies) across Gujarat would go to polls on December 19 to elect sarpanch and members, the State Election Commission (SEC) announced on Monday.
Of these, the five-year tenure of 10,117 gram panchayats is ending in December, while polls will be held in 65 panchayats due to splitting or dissolution of existing bodies, along with bypolls in 697 panchayats where seats fell vacant due to various reasons, said State Election Commissioner Sanjay Prasad.
“In all, nearly 2.06 crore voters will elect 10,284 sarpanchs and 89,702 panchayat members of these 10,879 gram panchayats. There are some 14,000 gram panchayats and 18,500 across the state. The last date of filing nominations is December 4 and that of withdrawal is December 7,” he said, adding the model code of conduct for these polls was now in force.
“Polling will be held on December 19 between 7 am and 6 pm in over 27,000 polling booths. Counting of votes will be held on December 21. Due to the very high number of wards, polling will be conducted using ballot boxes instead of EVMs. In all, we will be using over 54,000 ballot boxes for the elections,” said Mr Prasad.
He said more than 5,000 election officials, 1.5 lakh polling staff and over 58,000 policemen will be deployed.
Village panchayats polls are not fought on party symbols, and candidates need to contest in their personal capacity, with voters electing one sarpanch and a specified number of panchayat members.