60 percent polling in Andhra Pradesh by-elections (Second Lead)

May 29th, 2008 - 10:21 pm ICT by admin  

Hyderabad, May 29 (IANS) Sixty percent polling was recorded Thursday in by-elections to four Lok Sabha and 18 assembly seats in Andhra Pradesh in a battle dubbed as a referendum on the Telangana issue. Barring minor incidents, the polling passed off peacefully. The constituencies were spread over 10 districts.

Among the Lok Sabha constituencies, Adilabad recorded the highest polling at 60 percent. The turnout was 56 percent in Warangal, 54 percent in Hanamkonda and 51 percent in Karimnagar.

Aler recorded 70 percent polling, the highest among assembly constituencies. The lowest turnout, 38 percent, was in Khairatabad here. It is India’s largest assembly constituency with 1.6 million voters.

Chief Electoral Officer I. V. Subba Rao said the polling took place peacefully. He said the Election Commission would look into demands for re-polling in a few polling centres.

The by-elections were caused by the resignations of Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) MPs and 16 state legislators to protest the delay in granting separate statehood to the state’s Telangana region.

The by-polls in two assembly constituencies - Khairatabad in Hyderabad and Terlam in Vizianagaram district - were necessitated by the death of legislators of the ruling Congress party and main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP).

The by-elections are viewed as a semifinal before elections to the state assembly and the Lok Sabha next year.

A little over 8.6 million voters were eligible to exercise their franchise through electronic voting machines in 9,072 polling stations.

The voters will decide the fate of 174 candidates in the field. For the Adilabad, Warangal, Hanamkonda and Karimnagar Lok Sabha constituencies, 29 candidates were in the fray. For the 16 assembly seats, 145 candidates tried their luck.

Stray clashes among the three parties were reported from some constituencies.

Hundreds of voters in several constituencies were angry over not finding their names in voters’ list. Some voters staged a sit-in in the Adilabad Lok Sabha constituency.

TRS and TDP leaders accused the Congress of resorting to rigging in several areas. They accused it of trying to brine voters with money and liquor.

More than 63,000 police and paramilitary forces were deployed.

Tension prevailed in Musheerabad assembly constituency in the state capital when BJP legislator G. Kishan Reddy was arrested for moving around without permission from the election authorities.

Protesting his arrest, BJP workers staged a demonstration. They too were taken into custody.

Congress and BJP workers also clashed in Musheerabad, the only seat being contested by BJP.

It was in this constituency that state minister Mukesh Goud roughed up Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) MP Madhu Wednesday evening. This followed an argument when the CPI-M protested against alleged distribution of money by Congress supporters.

TRS chief K. Chandrasekhara Rao is seeking re-election from Karimnagar Lok Sabha seat. In the second by-election to the seat in less than a year, he faces Congress party’s T. Jeevan Reddy, who resigned as state minister to enter the fray.

Telugu superstar Chiranjeevi, who is reportedly planning to launch a new political party, cast his vote in the up market Jubliee Hills in Khairatabad constituency. His brother Pavan Kalyan and son Ramcharan Teja, both actors, also voted.

Telugu film actor Murali Mohan could not find his name in the voting list in Khairatabad district.

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