Hyderabad, Dec 7 (PTI) An estimated 67 per cent of over 2.80 crore voters cast their ballots in Telangana on Friday in an election that will test the popularity of the ruling TRS supremo K Chandrasekhar Rao and the wisdom of the great gamble he made in going for early elections.
Barring stray incidents of clashes and malfunctioning of voting machines at a few places, the polling was largely peaceful, including in areas affected by Maoist insurgency.
“As of 5 pm, we have reports that the polling was at 67 per cent. Webcasting shows that some people are still in queues. So, we expect the polling to go up by another two per cent,” the state’s chief electoral officer Rajat Kumar told reporters.
Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Jitender told PTI that the entire polling process was “incident free”.
However, independent reports said TRS and Congress workers clashed at a place in Nagar Kurnool district.
Kumar said there was a delay in start of polling at some booths on accounts of malfunctioning of EVMs and voter verifiable paper audit trail machines.
Thirty odd complaints of model code violation were also received.
Vote was taken for all the 119 seats of Telangana assembly for the first time after the division of Andhra Pradesh and creation of India’s youngest state in 2014.
Telangana and Andhra Pradesh Governor ESL Narasimhan, caretaker Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, ministers K T Rama Rao and T Harish Rao, BJP’s Telangana president K Laxman, state Congress chief Uttam Kumar Reddy and AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi were among leaders who cast their ballots.
Uttam Kumar Reddy alleged that his party candidate in Kalwakurthy Assembly segment Vamsichand Reddy was attacked by BJP cadre in Amangal where he had gone to observe the poll pattern.
However, BJP’s chief spokesperson Krishna Saagar Rao denied the allegation claiming the Congress was “playing victim games sensing disastrous defeat.”
TRS supremo and caretaker Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, widely credited for the creation of Telangana, exuded confidence that his party would come back to power with a “huge majority.”
Adding a dash of glamour to the poll process, celebrities turned up in good numbers to cast their votes.
Actor-turned-politician Chiranjeevi, veteran actor Krishna, popular heroes Nagarjuna, “junior” NTR and Mahesh Babu, and ‘Baahubali’-fame director S S Rajamouli exercised their franchise.
Tennis ace Sania Mirza and star badminton player P V Sindhu also cast their vote.
Chiranjeevi, Krishna, Nagarjuna, “junior” NTR and Sania Mirza turned up at the polling stations along with their family members to vote.
At some places, people were seen taking selfies with celebrity voters.
However, disappointment was in store for shuttler Jwala Gutta, who said she could not vote as her name was missing from the voters list.
Additional DG (Law and order) Jitender said about one lakh security personnel, including 20,000 drawn from other states and 25,000 central paramilitary forces, were deployed to ensure peaceful polls.
The Congress has stitched together “Praja Kutami” (People’s Front) with the TDP, Telangana Jana Samiti (TJS) and CPI in a bid to wrest power from the TRS, which is seeking a second term in office.
The TRS has gone it alone in the polls and so has the BJP.
As many as 1,821 candidates including a transgender are in the electoral fray.
Counting of votes would be taken up on December 11.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.