Polling underway for 2 Legislative Council seats in T’gana

Polling is underway on Sunday in two graduates’ constituencies of Telangana Legislative Council.

The voting began at 8 a.m. at 1,530 polling stations in Hyderabad-Rangareddy-Mahabubnagar and Warangal-Khammam-Nalgonda constituencies, where over 10 lakh graduates are eligible to cast their votes.

State Chief Electoral Officer Shashank Goel, 8.06 per cent voters cast their votes in the first two hours in Hyderabad-Rangareddy-Mahabubnagar constituency while the turnout in the other constituency was 8.11 per cent.

The official said the polling was underway in smooth and peaceful manner in the two constituencies spread over 21 districts.

The polling will continue till 4 p.m. while counting of votes will be taken up on March 17.

The Election Commission has made elaborate arrangements for free and fair polling which is being held through ballot papers.

The poll authorities have arranged jumbo size ballot boxes in Hyderabad-Rangareddy-Mahabubnagar in view of large number of contestants.

A total of 179 candidates are contesting in Hyderabad-Rangareddy-Mahabubnagar seat while 78 contestants are testing their fortunes in Warangal-Khammam-Nalgonda constituency.

A total of 5,31,268 graduates are eligible to cast their votes in Hyderabad-Rangareddy-Mahabubnagar while the number of voters in Warangal-Khammam-Nalgonda is 5,05,565.

Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar cast his vote at a polling booth at Upperpally in Hyderabad. He said the polling was progressing smoothly. He urged all graduate voters to exercise their franchise.

Cyberabad Police Commissioner V. C. Sajjanar said the polling process is taking time due to jumbo size ballot paper.

Both the constituencies are witnessing multi-cornered contests. Sitting legislators Ramchander Rao (BJP) and P. Rajeshwar Reddy (TRS) are seeking re-election from Hyderabad-Rangareddy-Mahabubnagar and Warangal-Khammam-Nalgonda seats respectively.

Aiming to check the BJP, ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) has fielded former Prime Minister P. V. Narasimha Rao’s daughter Vani Devi from Hyderabad-Rangareddy-Mahabubnagar constituency.

The polls are considered significant as the outcome is likely to indicate which way the wind is blowing ahead of the 2023 Assembly polls.

Upbeat over its victory in Dubbak Assembly by-election and the impressive performance in Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) polls late last year, the BJP is going all out to retain one seat and wrest the other from TRS.

The Congress party, which is making a determined effort to revive its fortunes in the state, has fielded former Minister G. Chinna Reddy from Hyderabad-Ranga Reddy-Mahabubnagar and former MLC S. Ramulu Naik from Warangal-Khammam-Nalgonda.

In Hyderabad-Ranga Reddy-Mahabubnagar, N. Nageshwar Rao is contesting as an independent candidate. He had represented the seat twice in the past.

M. Kodandaram of Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS) is a key contestant in Warangal-Khammam-Nalgonda.