65 per cent turnout in Warangal bypoll

65 per cent turnout in Warangal bypoll - Sakshi Post

Hyderabad: A healthy 65 per cent polling was reported today in the by-election to Warangal (SC) Lok Sabha constituency in Telangana, which witnessed a multi-cornered contest among the ruling TRS, Opposition Congress, BJP-TDP combine and YSR Congress Party (YSRCP).

The polling was by and large peaceful. Citing information available till around 6 PM, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Bhanwar Lal told PTI that the final voting figure would be more than 65 per cent. The polling passed off peacefully without any untoward incident reported from the constituency, about 130 km from here, he said.

Polling began at 7 AM amid tight security and voters who were in queue at 5 PM (closing time for balloting) were allowed to exercise their franchise. In morning, polling officials welcomed the first voters at several booths by giving them flowers to encourage the electorate to turn up in large numbers.

There are 15,09,671 voters in the constituency - 7,57,231 men and 7,52,293 women, according to the CEO. Among the 1,778 polling stations, 642, 498 and 33 were identified as sensitive, hyper-sensitive and left wing extremism-affected booths, respectively. Tight security arrangements were made, especially in the sensitive and left wing extremism-affected booths, to ensure free and fair polls for which 7,606 policemen were deployed.

The counting of votes would take place on November 24. Though 23 candidates are in the fray, the main contest is considered to be among the ruling TRS candidate P Dayakar, former Union Minister Sarve Satyanarayana (Congress), BJP's P Devaiah on behalf the BJP-TDP combine and YSRCP's N Suryaprakash.

Keen on retaining the seat, the ruling TRS appointed State Ministers as in-charges for campaign in the Assembly segments falling under the Lok Sabha constituency. In addition to the Ministers, TRS President and Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao addressed a public meeting in support of the party candidate.

Congress, which sought to salvage its prestige after the drubbing in last year's election despite delivering on the separate statehood demand, suffered an early setback with its candidate S Rajaiah landing in jail following the deaths in mysterious circumstances of his daughter-in-law and three grand children at his home in Warangal.

Rajaiah withdrew his candidature and Satyanarayana became the Congress nominee. Overcoming the initial embarrassment, Congress ran a determined campaign with senior leaders like Sushil Kumar Shinde, Meira Kumar, Ghulam Nabi Azad, AICC General Secretary (in-charge of party affairs in Telangana) Digvijay Singh and Rajasthan Congress chief Sachin Pilot canvassing for the party candidate.

BJP fielded NRI medical professional P Devaiah, for whom Union Ministers Bandaru Dattatreya, Hansraj Gangaram Ahir, Telangana BJP President G Kishan Reddy and party MLAs canvassed. TDP President and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, however, stayed away from campaigning.

PTI

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