Hyderabad: About 70 percent of 2.8 voters votes in the Telangana Assembly election on Friday as the polling ended on a peaceful note, barring minor incidents.
Polling ended in 106 constituencies at 5 p.m. but those standing in queues were allowed to cast their votes. The exact poll percentage will be known after receipt of detailed reports from the districts, officials said in Hyderabad. Some 56.17 per cent voters had voted by 3 p.m. Polling ended in 13 constituencies affected by Maoist violence at 4 p.m, This is the first full-fledged election in India's youngest election. In the 2014 elections held in united Andhra Pradesh, Telangana had registered a voter turnout of 68.9 percent. The polling, which began on a dull note at 7 a.m., picked up after 9.
Long queues of voters including women were seen especially in rural areas. Chief Electoral Officer Rajat Kumar said barring sporadic incidents, the polling was peaceful and smooth in all 32,815 polling stations across 31 districts. In some polling centres, the process started late due to technical glitches in Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). Of the total electorate, nearly half are women. There were 1,821 candidates, including Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao and his 14 cabinet colleagues.
Congress candidate Vamshichand Reddy was injured in stone pelting by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers in Nagarkurnool district. He was admitted to a hospital. Tension prevailed in Kodangal constituency where the midnight arrest of Congress Working Ptesident Revanth Reddy on December 4 had triggered a huge row, leading to transfer of Vikarabad District Superintendent of Police by the Election Commission. Voters at several places complained that their names were missing from the voters' list. Some voters staged protests after officials did not allow them to exercise their franchise in the absence of voter slips. Prominent people whose names were missing from the voter's list include family members of Finance Minister E. Rajender. Shuttler Jwala Gutta tweeted that her name was missing from the list.
Many celebrities including superstar Chiranjeevi, Nagarjuna, Junior NTR, tennis star Sania Mirza and ace shuttler P.V. Sindhu voted but this failed to enthuse the voters as overall turnout remained less than 40 per cent by 3 p.m. Chief Minister and Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) President cast his vote in his village in Siddipet district and exuded confidence that his party will retain power with a huge majority. Over 50,000 security personnel, including 18,860 from neighbouring states and central forces, were deployed as part of the security arrangements. Over 1.50 lakh polling personnel were on duty to conduct the polling process. As many as 55,329 EVMs and 39,763 control units were in use.
For the first time, Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) were installed across the state. Counting of votes will be taken up on December 11. It is expected to be a close contest between the ruling TRS, which contested all seats on its own, and the Congress-led People's Front that includes Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Communist Party of India and Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS). The BJP was the third key force in some constituencies. The Bahujan Left Front led by the Communist Party of India-Marxist and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) also contested majority of the seats. The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) contested eight seats in Hyderabad. The TRS opted for dissolution of the Assembly in September, eight months before its term was to end. (IANS)