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‘Money and mafia are play­ing havoc’

RS1.1B SEIZED IN CRACK­DOWN ON VOTE BUY­ING, AS CAM­PAIGN­ING ENDS IN HIGH STAKES TE­LAN­GANA ELEC­TION

- BY MO­HAM­MAD SID­DIQUE Cor­re­spon­dent

Ahigh volt­age, bit­ter and pug­na­cious elec­tion cam­paign, marked by abuses and in­sults, came to an end in Te­lan­gana yes­ter­day with a ques­tion mark re­main­ing on the pos­si­ble win­ner.

As the loud­speak­ers fell silent, of­fi­cials got down to the se­ri­ous busi­ness of mak­ing ar­range­ments to en­sure free and fair polling to­mor­row. An es­ti­mated 39 mil­lion vot­ers will be el­i­gi­ble to de­cide the fate of 1,824 can­di­dates in the fray for 119 seats of the leg­isla­tive as­sem­bly.

Ra­jat Ku­mar, chief elec­toral of­fi­cer, said polling would start in all the con­stituen­cies at 7am and close at 4pm in 13 re­mote con­stituen­cies fac­ing the threat of Maoists and at 5pm in the re­main­ing con­stituen­cies.

In a mas­sive drive against vote­buy­ing in the elec­tions, author­i­ties have seized Rs1.11 bil­lion, 380 mil­lion more than last time and Rs70 mil­lion (Dh3.64 mil­lion) worth liquor and gifts.

“Money and mafia are play­ing havoc in this elec­tion”, the elec­tion of­fi­cial said.

All pro­claim­ing vic­tory

Author­i­ties have also or­dered all liquor out­lets to close ahead of the poll and warned that those who come to polling sta­tions in a drunken state will be jailed.

Most of the con­stituen­cies were wit­ness­ing three cor­nered con­test be­tween rul­ing Te­lan­gana Rash­tra Samit (TRS) with tacit sup­port of the Ma­jlis-e-It­te­hadul Mus­limeen and Con­gressled Peo­ple’s Front, the BJP also poured enor­mous re­sources and man­power to seek to ex­pand its foot­print in the state.

The TRS and BJP are con­test­ing in all 119 seats, but the Congress party has fielded can­di­dates in only 94 con­stituen­cies, leav­ing 14 for the TDP and the re­main­ing to the CPI and Te­lan­gana Jana Samiti. Ma­jlis-e-It­te­hadul Mus­limeen (MIM) was con­test­ing in 8 seats and sup­port­ing the TRS in other con­stituen­cies.

All the sides were pro­claim­ing vic­tory in ad­vance.

“We are re­turn­ing to power with at least 100 seats,” de­clared a com­bat­ive TRS supremo and care­taker Chief Min­is­ter K. Chan­drasekhar Rao.

Hav­ing ad­dressed about a hun­dred meet­ings over the last 20 days, KCR rounded up his hec­tic cam­paign in his own home con­stituency Ga­jwel.

Congress Pres­i­dent Rahul Gandhi who along with Andhra Pradesh Chief Min­is­ter and Tel­ugu De­sam Pres­i­dent N. Chan­drababu Naidu com­man­deered the cam­paign of the Peo­ple’s Front was no less con­fi­dent of the al­liance wrest­ing the power.

“The time has come for the peo­ple to end the fam­ily rule and cor­rup­tion of KCR and send him back home”, Rahul de­clared in one of his fi­nal elec­tion ral­lies in the state.

The BJP also ran an un­prece­dented cam­paign with huge re­sources at its dis­posal. In a record of sorts, the en­tire top BJP lead­er­ship cam­paigned through the length and breadth of the state.

“If we look at the at­mos­phere in Hy­der­abad, this elec­tion clearly be­longs to the BJP”, de­clared Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi who ad­dressed three ral­lies in the state. BJP Pres­i­dent Amit Shah, Ut­tar Pradesh Chief Min­is­ter Yogi Adityanath and sev­eral other top lead­ers also ad­dressed a large num­ber of elec­tion meet­ings.

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 ?? PTI ?? Sup­port­ers lis­ten to an ad­dress by Te­lan­gana care­taker chief min­is­ter and TRS chief K Chan­drashekar Rao in Nal­go­nda dis­trict. The TRS and BJP are con­test­ing in all 119 seats, but the Congress party has fielded can­di­dates in only 94 con­stituen­cies.
PTI Sup­port­ers lis­ten to an ad­dress by Te­lan­gana care­taker chief min­is­ter and TRS chief K Chan­drashekar Rao in Nal­go­nda dis­trict. The TRS and BJP are con­test­ing in all 119 seats, but the Congress party has fielded can­di­dates in only 94 con­stituen­cies.
 ?? PTI ?? Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi waves to the crowd dur­ing a rally for his Bharatiya Janata Party in Nizam­abad on Tues­day.
PTI Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi waves to the crowd dur­ing a rally for his Bharatiya Janata Party in Nizam­abad on Tues­day.
 ?? PTI ?? TRS pres­i­dent and care­taker chief min­is­ter K. Chan­drashekar Rao ad­dresses a pub­lic meet­ing in San­gareddy yes­ter­day.
PTI TRS pres­i­dent and care­taker chief min­is­ter K. Chan­drashekar Rao ad­dresses a pub­lic meet­ing in San­gareddy yes­ter­day.
 ?? PTI ?? Congress pres­i­dent Rahul Gandhi with Andhra Pradesh Chief Min­is­ter N. Chan­drababu Naidu dur­ing a rally at Kodad in Suryapet, yes­ter­day.
PTI Congress pres­i­dent Rahul Gandhi with Andhra Pradesh Chief Min­is­ter N. Chan­drababu Naidu dur­ing a rally at Kodad in Suryapet, yes­ter­day.
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