Telangana assembly elections 2018: 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.
Telangana, the newest state of the country 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. These constituencies are: Sirpur, Chennur, Bellampalli, Mancherial, Asifabad, Bhupalpalli, Mulugu, Pinapaka, Yellandu, Ashwaraopet, Kothagudem, Bhadrachalam and Manthani. Initial figures indicated the turnout in these constituencies hovered around the 65% mark.
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“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 in the evening.
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.
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At Tirumalagiri of Tungaturthi constituency, voters expressed anger at the presiding officer for locking the polling booth in the afternoon for lunch. They alerted the higher officials who rushed to the spot and opened the polling station.
Apart from malfunctioning EVMs that delayed voting by up to two hours in several polling stations in Telangana, there were also complaints of missing names of voters at several places. Ace badminton player Jwala Gutta also fumed at the authorities on finding that her name was missing in the electoral list.
“I had checked (name) and then only went today (to vote) and my name was missing. My point is, my father and sister’s names have been missing since the time we checked online,” she said in a video message posted on Twitter.
In Kamareddy district, about 300 people sat on the road, holding up their voter ID cards to register their protest. In Khairtabad, too, at least 100 voters protested at the polling station after their names were found deleted from the voters’ list.
Former Maoist ideologue and balladeer Gaddar exercised his franchise for the first time in his life. The 70-year old singer got himself registered as a voter in April last. After casting his vote at Venkatapuram, Gaddar said the vote was also a powerful weapon to bring change in the society. “It can herald a new revolution in the country,” he said.