74 pc vot­ing in Ra­jasthan, over 67 pc in Te­lan­gana

The Hitavada - - FRONT PAGE -

ABOUT 74 per cent of the 4.74 crore reg­is­tered vot­ers had cast their vote in Ra­jasthan while about 67 per cent of 2.8 crore vot­ers cast votes in Te­lan­gana Assem­bly elec­tion on Fri­day.

In Te­lan­gana the elec­tion will test the pop­u­lar­ity of the rul­ing TRS supremo K Chan­drasekhar Rao and the wis­dom of the great gam­ble he made in go­ing for early elec­tions. Vote was taken for all the 119 seats of Te­lan­gana assem­bly for the first time af­ter the divi­sion of Andhra Pradesh and cre­ation of In­dia’s youngest state in 2014. Bar­ring stray in­ci­dents of clashes and mal­func­tion­ing of vot­ing ma­chines at a few places, the polling was largely peace­ful, in­clud­ing in ar­eas af­fected by Maoist in­sur­gency.In Ra­jasthan elec­tions were held for 199 of the 200 Assem­bly seats.

At the close of the polling in Ra­jasthan, the Elec­tion Com­mis­sion said the turnout 73.85 per cent, less than a per­cent­age point short of the 75.23 reg­is­tered in 2013.

Of­fi­cials said the fi­nal fig­ure could be higher. Polling be­gan at 51,687 booths across the State at 8 am. The po­lice re­ported a few clashes among sup­port­ers, but

said polling was largely peace­ful.

Para­mil­i­tary jawans opened fire in the air to dis­perse mis­cre­ants try­ing to force their way into a booth at a vil­lage in Al­war’s Shah­ja­ha­pur. In Bikaner’s Ko­layat, two groups clashed out­side a polling booth and a ve­hi­cle was torched. In Sikar too there was a clash. Chief Minister Va­sund­hara Raje, Pradesh Congress Com­mit­tee chief Sachin Pilot and other lead­ers were among those who ex­er­cised their fran­chise. Raje ( Jhal­ra­p­atan), Pilot ( Tonk), for­mer Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot (Sar­darpura) are among the 2,274 can­di­dates in the fray. In about 130 con­stituen­cies, the con­test ap­pears to be mainly be­tween the BJP and the Congress.

In the cur­rent House, the BJP has 160 seats and the Congress 25. “As of 5 pm, we have re­ports that the polling was at 67 per cent. We­b­cast­ing shows that some peo­ple are still in queues. So, we ex­pect the polling to go up by an­other two per cent,” the Te­lan­gana Chief Elec­toral Of­fi­cer Ra­jat Ku­mar told re­porters. Ad­di­tional Di­rec­tor Gen­eral of Po­lice (Law and Or­der) Ji­ten­der told PTI that the en­tire polling process was “in­ci­dent free”. How­ever, in­de­pen­dent re­ports said TRS and Congress work­ers clashed at a place in Na­gar Kurnool dis­trict.

Ku­mar said there was a de­lay in start of polling at some booths on ac­counts of mal­func­tion­ing of EVMs and voter ver­i­fi­able pa­per au­dit trail ma­chines.

Thirty odd com­plaints of model code vi­o­la­tion were also re­ceived. Te­lan­gana and Andhra Pradesh Gover­nor ESL Narasimhan, care­taker Chief Minister K Chan­drashekar Rao, min­is­ters K T Rama Rao and T Har­ish Rao, BJP’s Te­lan­gana pres­i­dent K Lax­man, state Congress chief Ut­tam Ku­mar Reddy and AIMIM chief Asadud­din Owaisi were among lead­ers who cast their bal­lots.

Ut­tam Ku­mar Reddy al­leged that his party can­di­date in Kal­wakurthy Assem­bly seg­ment Vam­sic­hand Reddy was at­tacked by BJP cadre in Aman­gal where he had gone to ob­serve the poll pat­tern. How­ever, BJP’s chief spokesper­son Kr­ishna Saa­gar Rao de­nied the al­le­ga­tion claim­ing the Congress was “play­ing vic­tim games sens­ing dis­as­trous de­feat.” TRS supremo and care­taker CM K Chan­drasekhar Rao, widely cred­ited for the cre­ation of Te­lan­gana, ex­uded con­fi­dence that his party would come back to power with a “huge ma­jor­ity.” Adding a dash of glam­our to the poll process, celebri­ties turned up in good num­bers to cast their votes. Ac­tor-turned-politi­cian Chi­ran­jeevi, vet­eran ac­tor Kr­ishna, pop­u­lar he­roes Na­gar­juna, “junior” NTR and Ma­hesh Babu, and ‘Baahubali’-fame di­rec­tor S S Ra­jamouli ex­er­cised their fran­chise.

BJP can­di­date Sid­dhi Ku­mari af­ter cast­ing vote for the State Assem­bly elec­tions, at a polling sta­tion in Bikaner (Ra­jasthan), on Fri­day. (Right) Lam­badi tribeswomen pose with their ink-marked fin­gers af­ter cast­ing their votes in the Te­lan­gana on the out­skirts of Hyderabad on Fri­day. (AFP)

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