Over 70 percent polling in Telangana bypoll

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Hyderabad, Feb 13 (IANS) Over 70 percent polling was registered on Saturday in the by-election to Narayankhed assembly constituency in Telangana’s Medak district, officials said.

The polling came to an end at 5 p.m. but those standing in queues were still being allowed to cast their votes. The exact turnout will be known later this evening.

No untoward incident was reported from anywhere in the constituency. Long queues were seen in majority of the polling centres since morning.

The election authorities had made elaborate arrangements for the voting, which began at 7 a.m.

As many as 1,88,236 voters are eligible to exercise their franchise at 286 polling centres.

Strict security arrangements were made to ensure peaceful and smooth conduct of the polling. The officials monitored the poll process through live webcasting from 142 polling stations.

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Medak District Collector Ronald Ross said no untoward incident was reported from anywhere in the constituency.

In an attempt to increase the polling percentage, 20 model polling stations have also been opened. At these booths, four in each of the five mandals, the polling staff is welcoming voters with flowers.

“The idea is to give good experience to the voters. We have set up shamianas (tents) to protect them from the sun and also providing them drinking water, tea and buttermilk,” Ross said.

The by-election was necessitated due to the death of sitting Congress legislator P. Kishta Reddy in August 2015.

There are eight candidates in the fray but the main contest is between P. Sanjeeva Reddy, son of Kishta Reddy, from Congress, M. Vijayapal Reddy from Telugu Desam Party and M. Bhupal Reddy from ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS).

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Fresh from its huge victory in Warangal Lok Sabha by-elections and Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) polls, the TRS is making a determined bid to wrest the seat from Congress.

Narayankhed has always been a stronghold of the Congress and TRS failed in capturing the seat in the last two elections.

TRS president and Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Reddy also addressed a public meeting in the constituency during his party’s poll campaign, promising to transform the region.

The Congress is banking on the sympathy wave.

The TDP, which is contesting the elections in alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has fielded TRS candidate Bhupal Reddy’s brother Vijayapal Reddy.

The counting of votes will be taken up on February 16.

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