Peaceful, moderate polling in Telangana; CEO, officials, stars throng polling stations

Peaceful, moderate polling in Telangana; CEO, officials, stars throng polling stations. — IANS

Hyderabad, May 13 (IANS) Polling for all 17 Lok Sabha seats in Telangana concluded peacefully on Monday evening with 61.16 per cent voter turnout till 5 p.m., but set to go up as there were still voters in queues at polling booths across the state.

The polling came to an end at 6 p.m. but those standing in queues were allowed to cast their votes even after the deadline.

Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Vikas Raj told media persons at 7 p.m. that the polling process was still on at 1,300 to 1,400 polling stations and closure estimates of polling will be received from sector officers tonight.

“Final polling figure will be known tomorrow,” he said.

Vikas Raj, who voted with his family, said the response from voters was very good.

“The weather was also supportive. We had a good turnout,” he said.

The CEO said there were no problems on the law and order side too.

Technical problems in the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) were reported from about 115 polling stations and the officials had to replace the faulty machines. He said 38 First Information Reports (FIRs) were registered on Monday for various reasons and against different political parties.

Barring minor incidents, the polling passed off peacefully.

BJP’s Hyderabad candidate K. Madhavi Latha was booked by the police after she checked the identity of some burka-clad Muslim women voters at a polling station in Malakpet and asked them to take off their veils.

On the direction of the returning officer, police booked a case against her under Sections 171 C (undue influence at elections, 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 505 (1) C (act with intent to incite, or which is likely to incite, any class or community of persons to commit any offence against any other class of community) of the Indian Penal Code and section 132 of the Representation of People Act.

There was mild tension in the Mir Chowk area in the evening when the convoys of Madhavi Latha and AIMIM President Asaduddin Owaisi came face to face. Slogan shouting by supporters of both parties led to mild tension. Police intervened to disperse both the groups.

In 13 Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected segments under five Lok Sabha constituencies, the polling ended at 4 p.m. In the remaining 106 segments, it continued till 6 p.m.

The political future of 525 candidates in 17 Lok Sabha constituencies has been sealed in Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).

Votes were also polled for by-election to the Secunderabad Cantonment Assembly seat, a part of the Malkajgiri Lok Sabha constituency. The vacancy arose following the death of sitting MLA Lasya Nanditha of BRS in a road accident in February 2024, just three months after she was elected in the November Assembly elections.

Fifteen candidates were in the fray for the Assembly by-election. The constituency registered 47.88 per cent polling till 5 p.m.

A little over 3.17 crore voters, half of them women, were eligible to cast their votes across the state.

Among Lok Sabha constituencies, Bhongir recorded the highest turnout of 72.34 per cent till 5 p.m., while Hyderabad was the lowest at 39.17 per cent.

The final polling figure is expected to be available on Monday night after the Election Commission receives reports from all the constituencies.

Telangana had recorded a turnout of 71.34 per cent during the Assembly elections held in November 2023, and 62.11 per cent in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Voting was marked by enthusiasm at several places, especially in rural areas. Voters queued up at polling stations even before the polling process started at 7 a.m. To avoid the summer heat, many voters cast their votes in the early hours. The process slowed down after noon but picked up momentum again after 3 p.m.

Election officials said that in a few places, polling was delayed due to technical problems in EVMs and disruption in electricity due to rains and strong winds.

Chief Minister A. Revanth Reddy cast his vote in his Kodangal Assembly segment in Vikarabad district while Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) President and former Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao exercised the franchise in his native Chintamadaka village in Siddipet district.

Former Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu, Haryana Governor Bandaru Dattatreya and Tripura Governor N. Indrasena Reddy were among the prominent personalities who cast their votes in Hyderabad. State ministers polled their votes in their respective districts. Leading Tollywood stars K. Chiranjeevi, Junior NTR, Allu Arjun and other film personalities also cast their votes.

A total of 35,809 polling stations were set up across the state for the polling. More than 2.94 lakh personnel including nearly a lakh security personnel were on poll duty. As many as 160 companies of central forces were deployed.

The Secunderabad constituency has a maximum number of candidates at 45. A total of 44 candidates are in fray in Medak, followed by 43 in Chevella and 42 each in Peddapalle-SC and Warangal-SC constituencies. There are only 12 candidates in the Adilabad-ST constituency.

Union Minister and state BJP president G. Kishan Reddy is seeking re-election from Secunderabad, while BJP national General Secretary and sitting MP from Karimnagar, Bandi Sanjay Kumar is contesting again from the same seat, and BJP national Vice President D. K. Aruna is in the fray from Mahabubnagar. AIMIM President Asaduddin Owaisi is seeking re-election for a fifth consecutive term from Hyderabad.

In the 2019 elections, the BRS had won nine seats while BJP had bagged four seats. Congress could win three seats while the AIMIM had retained its lone seat.

- Advertisement -