Telangana registers moderate polling
India’s newest state saw 67.5% turnout in the assembly elections by 5pm on Friday but the Election Commission indicated the final turnout figure might go up because all voters in queue at the time of closing of polls were permitted to exercise their franchise.
The turnout is marginally lower than the 68.5% that was recorded in the Telangana region in the 2014 elections, which was held together for the erstwhile undivided Andhra Pradesh.
Adilabad district recorded the highest poll percentage of over 76.5%, the state capital of Hyderabad recorded a poor turnout at only 50%. “Constituency-wise, Narsampet in Warangal (East) district recorded the highest poll percentage of 84%, whereas Yakutpura in Hyderabad recorded the lowest of 45% polling,” Chief Electoral Officer Rajath Kumar said. In 13 assembly constituencies identified as sensitive in view of their proximity to Maoist-affected areas at the borders of Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh, polling closed at 4 pm. Initial figures indicated the turnout in these constituencies hovered around the 65% mark.
“Polling went on peacefully without any law and order problem in these constituencies. We shall take all precautions till the Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) and other equipment reaches the strong rooms safely,” director general of police M Mahender Reddy said.
The election saw the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) take on a Maha Kootami, or grand alliance, of opposition parties led by the Congress. TRS president and caretaker chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao expressed confidence that his party would come back to power with a huge majority. “The mood of the people is very positive towards the TRS and we shall win hands down,” KCR said after casting his vote at his native village in Chintamadaka of Siddipet district in the afternoon.
Pradesh Congress Committee president N Uttam Kumar Reddy said the Maha Kootami was going to form the next government in Telangana. “According to the inputs we have received, we shall get 80 seats,” he claimed .
Except sporadic violence, polling proceeded peacefully. In Amangal of Kalwakurthy constituency, some Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers allegedly pelted stones at Congress candidate Vamsichand Reddy. An injured Reddy was later shifted to Hyderabad for treatment.
At Indiranagar police station, there was a clash between the BJP agent and TRS workers after the former allegedly objected to former minister and TRS candidate from Khairatabad Danam Nagender coming to the polling station wearing a pink scarf (pink is the colour TRS uses in its campaign material). BJP candidate Ramachandra Reddy lodged a complaint with the EC and the police against TRS leaders.
At Tirumalagiri, voters expressed anger at the presiding officer for locking the polling booth in the afternoon for lunch.
Apart from malfunctioning EVMs that delayed voting by up to two hours in some stations , there were also complaints of missing names of voters.
Ace badminton player Jwala Gutta also fumed at the authorities on finding that her name was missing in the electoral list.
Former Maoist ideologue and balladeer Gaddar voted for the first time in his life.
■ A polling officer puts the indelible ink mark on the finger of a specially-abled woman voter in Hyderabad, on Friday.