Over 56% polling in Telangana by 3 p.m (Sixth Lead)
Hyderabad : Heavy polling was recorded in the Telangana Assembly election on Friday, with officials reporting over 56 per cent voter turnout by 3 p.m.
According to information reaching Hyderabad, 56.17 per cent of over 2.8 crore voters had cast their votes by 3 p.m.
Polling came to an end in 13 Left Wing Extremism affected constituencies at 4 p.m, while in the remaining 106 segments the process will continue till 5 p.m.
The polling, which began on a dull note at 7 a.m, picked up after 9 a.m. Long queues of voters including women were seen especially in rural areas.
Chief Electoral Officer Rajath Kumar said barring sporadic incidents the polling was peaceful and smooth in all 32,815 polling stations spread across 31 districts.
In some polling centres, the process started late due to technical glitches in Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).
Of the total electorate, nearly half are women. There are 1,821 candidates, including Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao and his 14 cabinet colleagues.
Tension prevailed in Kodangal constituency where the midnight arrest of Congress Working President Revanth Reddy on December 4 had triggered a huge row, leading to transfer of Vikarabad District Superintendent of Police by the Election Commission.
Voters at several places complained that their names were missing from the voter list. Some voters staged protest over officials not allowing them to cast their votes in the absence of voter slips.
The prominent whose names were missing from voter list include the family members of Finance Minister E. Rajender. Shuttler Jwala Gutta tweeted that her name was also missing from the list.
Many celebrities including superstar Chiranjeevi, Nagarjuna, Junior NTR, tennis star Sania Mirza and ace shuttler P.V. Sindhu cast their votes but this failed to enthuse the voters as overall turnout remained less than 40 per cent by 3 p.m.
Chief Minister and Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) President cast his vote in his village in Siddipet district and exuded confidence that his party will retain power with a huge majority.
Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan and his wife exercised the franchise near Raj Bhavan.
Congress Telangana unit chief Uttam Kumar Reddy voted in Kodad constituency. BJP's state unit chief K. Laxman and AIMIM President Asaduddin Owaisi did so in Hyderabad.
Over 50,000 security personnel, including 18,860 from neighbouring states and central forces, were deployed as part of the security arrangements.
Over 1.50 lakh polling personnel were on duty to conduct the polling process. As many as 55,329 EVMs and 39,763 control units were in use.
For the first time, Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) were installed across the state. The authorities have arranged 42,751 VVPATs, which are attached to the EVMs and will display for seven seconds the choice made by the voter.
The elections were expected to be a close contest between the ruling TRS, which is contesting all seats on its own, and the Congress-led People's Front that includes Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Communist Party of India and Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS).
The BJP is the third key force in some constituencies. The Bahujan Left Front led by the Communist Party of India-Marxist and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) are also contesting majority of the seats.
The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) is contesting eight seats in Hyderabad.
The TRS opted for dissolution of the Assembly in September, eight months before its term was to end.