Campaign ends for first phase of polls in Andhra Pradesh

April 14th, 2009 - 7:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Hyderabad, April 14 (IANS) Leaders of all political parties made a last-ditch attempt to woo voters on the last day of campaigning Tuesday for the first phase of simultaneous polls to the Lok Sabha and the Andhra Pradesh assembly Tuesday.
Loudspeakers fell silent and parties stopped canvassing at the stroke of 4 p.m. in 22 Lok Sabha and 154 assembly constituencies going to polls Thursday. Following directions from the Election Commission, even television channels and the radio stopped telecast of poll advertisements and election-related programmes.

Though campaigning is on in the remaining 20 Lok Sabha and 150 assembly constituencies going to polls in the second phase April 23, the poll authorities have barred channels from telecasting any public meeting or rally.

In the first phase, 17 Lok Sabha and 119 assembly constituencies in all 10 districts of Telangana and five Lok Sabha and 35 assembly constituencies in all three districts of north coastal Andhra will go to polls.

As many as 31.1 million (3.11 crore) voters in these constituencies will decide the electoral fortunes of 315 candidates for Lok Sabha and 1,833 candidates for assembly elections.

Polling will be held from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. in 36,124 polling stations amid tight security.

Amid predictions of a first-ever hung assembly, the state is set to witness a triangular contest between the ruling Congress, the Grand Alliance led by Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) of superstar Chiranjeevi.

With PRP having limited presence in few south coastal districts, it is likely to be a direct fight between Congress and the Grand Alliance, which also has Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), Communist Party of India (CPI) and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) as other constituents.

Union Minister S. Jaipal Reddy, Renuka Chowdary, and D. Purandareswari, All India Congress Committee secretary Madhu Yaskhi Goud and TRS president K. Chandrasekhara Rao, film actress Vijayashanti of TRS, TDP leader K. Yerran Naidu, CPI national secretary S. Sudhakar Reddy, PRP vice-president T. Devender Goud and general secretary Allu Aravind, state BJP president Bandaru Dattatreya and MIM president Asaduddin Owaisi are prominent candidates for Lok Sabha elections.

About 133,000 electronic voting machines are being used during the elections and half of them will be pressed into service in the first phase. The officials have identified 5,102 polling stations as troublesome, 9,159 as sensitive, 5,312 as hyper-sensitive and 2,747 as extremist affected.

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