74 pc voting in Rajasthan, over 67 pc in Telangana
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)