Hyderabad: At least 72 percent turnout was recorded in peaceful polling for 17 Lok Sabha seats and 119 state assembly seats in the first election in Telangana, which is set to born as India’s 29th state on June 2.
Officials said the turnout may go up to 73 percent as final reports were still awaited from some constituencies.
Barring minor incidents, balloting was peaceful amid tight security at 30,574 polling booths across 10 districts of Telangana including Hyderabad.
The turnout was higher than 67.71 percent recorded in the region in 2009 but fell short of 90 percent, the target set by the Election Commission
Nalgonda district recorded highest turnout – 81 percent – while Hyderabad witnessed the lowest turnout at 53 percent, said chief electoral officer Bhanwarlal.
He said 21 million out of 28.17 million electors cast their vote. “I thank them for coming out and casting their vote to strengthen democracy, despite the summer heat,” he said.
Despite the voter awareness drive by the poll authorities and NGOs, the poll percentage in Hyderabad slipped from 58 percent in 2009 to 53 percent.
The authorities had taken all measures to ensure the higher turnout. They had not only declared a holiday for all institutions, shops and companies including IT firms but also enforced ensured compliance of their orders.
Popular Telugu comedy actor Brahmanandam, seen exhorting voters in advertisements to go out and vote as a brand ambassador of the Election Commission, was in a shock when he found his name missing from the voters’ list.
The veteran actor and his wife Lakshmi Wednesday went to a polling centre in the posh Jubliee Hills but were surprised when the polling staff informed them that their names are not there in the voters’ list and had to return home diasappointed.
Meanwhile, the other brand ambassador from Hyderabad cast her vote. Badminton star Saina Nehwal exercised her franchise at a polling centre in Gacchibowli neighborhood.
Bhanwarlal said no incident of rigging or other malpractices was reported from any place. He has also not received any request for re-poll.
Polling in three Maoist-affected assembly constituencies ended at 4 p.m. and in 10 other constituencies at 5 p.m.
Clashes between workers of rival parties were reported from Mahabubnagar and Ranga Reddy districts.
A vehicle allegedly belonging to a Congress leader mysteriously caught fire in Suryapet in Nalgonda district. Bundles of currency notes of Rs.1,000 and 500 denominations, hidden in the engine, were found burnt. The driver escaped after the Innova vehicle caught fire.
The vehicle carried legislator sticker reportedly belonging to Telangana Congress committee’s working president Uttam Kumar Reddy, who is seeking re-election from Huzurnagar assembly constituency.
The CEO said the vehicle was carrying 2.5 crore cash. He, however, said the identity of the owner and other details would be known only after the driver is caught.
This was the first election in Telangana since parliament passed a bill in February for separate statehood to the region.
As many as 265 candidates are in the fray for the Lok Sabha and 1,669 for the assembly constituencies.
Technical snag in electronic voting machines (EVMs) led to delay in start of the polling at some polling centres.
Prominent among the contestants for Lok Sabha elections include union cabinet Minister S. Jaipal Reddy (Mahabubnagar), TRS chief K. Chandrasekhara Rao (Medak), his daughter K. Kavitha (Nizamabad), Lok Satta chief Jayaprakash Narayan (Malkajgiri) and Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) president Asaduddin Owaisi (Hyderabad).