While Voter Turnout was an Encouraging 70.29% in Panchayats, Municipal Wards Record 45.3% Turnout

Port Blair, March 6: The Panchayat & Municipal Elections, 2022 were held peacefully for 686 constituencies of 70 Gram Panchayats and 114 polling booths for 24 Wards of Port Blair Municipal Council in A&N Islands today.

Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) were used for Port Blair Municipal Council Elections while Elections for PRIs were held through Ballot Papers.

The polling was conducted very smoothly under the close supervision and monitoring of Shri. Suneel Anchipaka, IAS, Director (Panchayat and Municipal Elections), A&N Islands.

The overall voter turnout for all Panchayats of Andaman and Nicobar Islands was 70.29%. The voting percentage for Gram Panchayat Elections of PRIs under South Andaman District stood at 68.99%, North & Middle Andaman District recorded 72.67% votes and Nicobar District recorded 56.72% votes while 45.3% polling was recorded for the election in the wards of Port Blair Municipal Council. Voters in good numbers came out of their homes to exercise their franchise.

Even in the remotest of the Islands, the turnout for polling was enormous in polling stations like Paschimsagar, Ganesh Nagar, Borang, Hanspuri, Sagar Dweep were well connected to VHF to monitor the progress of poll. The polling stations of Ganesh Nagar recorded above 90% poll whereas Borang recorded above 84% poll, Paschimsagar recorded above 78% polls, Sagar Dweep recorded 76.54% poll and Hanspuri recorded above 75% poll. All the necessary arrangements for such polling stations such as early deputation of additional staff, distribution of materials, arrangements of dinghies for transportation of polling materials, power backup etc were made with high priority.

Regular patrolling and monitoring was carried out by the Returning Officers, Sector Officers, Police Sector Officers, and other senior officials engaged in election duty to ensure smooth conduct of polling at their allotted jurisdictions. After completion of the poll, the polled materials have been collected at respective Tehsils under tight security arrangements whereas, the polling materials for elections to the wards of Port Blair Municipal Council was deposited at JNRM Strong Room.

All COVID protocols were ensured throughout the Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands as per the guidelines issued by the Election Commission viz. Monitoring of temperature of the voters, marking of social distancing, providing of hand sanitizers by the ASHA and Anganwadi workers at the entry point of all booths were ensured in all over the Territory.

In few polling stations, due to mechanical failure the EVMs had to be replaced, which was done swiftly in order to minimize inconvenience of the electors. Forseeing such situations, engineers from ECIL were stationed at Port Blair.

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are having a diverse/pluralistic society and the political scenario in the Islands also indicates tough contest between political parties. Keeping in view, a good number of police personnel were also deployed for security arrangements.

Considering the geographical and terrain conditions, the DPME specially envisaged and requisitioned the provisions of helicopter services as well as speed boats from Shipping Services. The vessels of Andaman and Nicobar Command was also kept ready as a backup mechanism to tackle any emergency situation.

The Election Machinery of the Director (Panchayat and Municipal Elections) had to evaluate various strategies for deployment of Polling Personnels to remote locations like hiring of dinghies which are the only means of transportation for few polling stations in the Islands like Rutland, Pashimsagar, Hanspuri, Long Island etc., which were adhered to absolutely and the turnout of voters and the percentage of voting in all such locations were enormous. The materials for Polling Stations at Swaraj and Shaheed Dweep were also sent by special sailing schedule and whereas due to night landing constraints at Swaraj Dweep and Shaheed Dweep, the polled materials have been kept under security at the Strong Rooms in the respective Police Stations of the Islands and are planned to be brought back tomorrow by special boats.

The Director, Panchayat & Municipal Elections, Shri Suneel Anchipaka also kept the UT Election Commissioner apprised of progress of polls at every two hours.

The Director (Panchayat and Municipal Elections) thanked the media, political parties and also the general public which resulted into no untoward incidents during the course of the election process, thus paving way for free, fair and transparent conduction of the major democratic election event to Gram Panchayat and Municipality.