According to Chief Electoral Officer Vikas Raj, 36.68 per cent of voters cast their votes in the first six hours. The turnout was poor in state capital Hyderabad and other urban areas despite special campaigns run by the Election Commission (EC) and several NGOs.
The figures show that Hyderabad recorded only 20.70 per cent polling while the adjoining Medchal Malkajgiri and Rangareddy districts also registered low percentage at 26.70 and 29.79 per cent respectively.
Among 33 districts, Medak registered the highest polling at 50.80 per cent. It was 49.29 in Gadwal and 49.12 per cent in Jayashankar Bhupalpally districts.
Barring minor incidents at a few places, the polling was peaceful and smooth in all 119 Assembly constituencies.
A little over 3.26 crore voters, with women surpassing men, will decide the political fortunes of 2,290 candidates. The EC has made elaborate arrangements for polling at 35,655 polling stations spread across 33 districts.
Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) president and Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao cast his vote in Chintamadaka village in Siddipet district. State Congress chief A Revanth Reddy cast his vote in Kodangal constituency in Vikarabad district.
BRS working president KT Rama Rao, Union Minister and state BJP president G Kishan Reddy, BRS leader K Kavitha, former Indian cricket captain and Congress candidate from Jubilee Hills, Mohammed Azharuddin, MIM president Asaduddin Owaisi, Chief Secretary Santhi Kumari and Director General of Police Anjani Kumar were among the prominent personalities who cast their votes in Hyderabad.
More than 1.85 lakh polling personnel have been deployed while 22,000 micro observers were monitoring the polling process across the state.
Authorities have arranged web casting at 27,094 polling stations across the state. The Election Commission has made special arrangements for PwD (Person with Disability) voters at all polling stations. It has arranged 21,686 wheelchairs for them.
A total of 45,000 personnel from the state police, 3,000 from other departments, 50 companies of Telangana State Special Police (TSSP) and 375 companies of the central paramilitary forces have been deployed as part of the massive security arrangements. As many as 23,500 home guards from neighbouring states were also deployed.
Polling, which began at 7 a.m., will end at 5 p.m. However, in 13 constituencies that are Maoist strongholds, polling will conclude at 4 p.m.
Election authorities have arranged a total of 72,931 ballot units or EVMs, of them 59,779 will be deployed at polling stations while the remaining will be kept in reserve for replacement.
A total of 2,290 candidates including 221 women and one transgender are in the fray. The candidates include seven MPs, 104 sitting MLAs and five MLCs.
The BRS and the Congress are locked in a tough battle for power in India’s youngest state. While the BRS is aiming for a third-consecutive term in power, the Congress is confident of forming the first government in a state which it claims to have carved out.
BRS is contesting all 119 seats on its own and the Congress has left one seat for its ally the Communist Party of India (CPI). The BJP is the third major contestant in the fray and it may impact the outcome by cutting into anti-incumbency votes.
The BJP has fielded candidates in 111 constituencies and left the remaining eight for its ally Jana Sena Party (JSP) led by actor-politician Pawan Kalyan.
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is contesting 107 seats on its own. The AIMIM, a friendly party of the BRS, has fielded candidates in nine constituencies, all in Hyderabad. In the rest of the state, it has declared support to the BRS.
The CPI-M has fielded 19 candidates.
Chief Minister KCR is contesting from Gajwel and Kamareddy constituencies. State Congress chief Revanth Reddy is also contesting from Kamareddy and Kodangal.
The other prominent candidates include BRS working president IT Minister KT Rama Rao (Sircilla), Finance Minister T Harish Rao (Siddipet), Congress leader and former Indian cricket captain Mohammed Azharuddin (Jubilee Hills), Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka (Wyra), former TPCC president Uttam Kumar Reddy (Huzurnagar), BJP leader and former minister Eatala Rajender (Huzurabad and Gajwel), BJP General Secretary Bandi Sanjay Kumar (Karimnagar) and AIMIM leader Akbaruddin Owaisi (Chandrayangutta).
–Ajit Weekly News
News Credits – I A N S