Telangana Municipal Polls: Voter Turnout has TRS Smiling

Hyderabad: The TRS juggernaut is all set to roll again with 70.26 per cent of the voters turning up to exercise their franchise in the Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) elections in the State on Wednesday, clearly indicating that the odds were heavily in favour of the ruling party. Post the polling, ruling party leaders were confident that they would have at least 90 per cent of the seats in their kitty.

Barring stray incidents, polling for 120 municipalities and nine municipal corporations concluded peacefully across the State. The results will be declared on January 25 when counting of votes would be taken up.

Preliminary reports from Telangana State Election Commission (TSEC) indicated that the highest polling percentage of over 95.13 per cent was in Pochampally and 93.31 in Choutuppal municipalities. Nizampet registered the lowest of about 39.65 per cent. Women turned out in larger numbers accounting for 69.94 per cent against 68.80 per cent men.

Despite cold climatic conditions, voters thronged polling stations from early morning in many ULBs. Ministers, legislators and officials cast their votes in their respective civic bodies. However, polling slowed down in the afternoon before picking up pace again towards late afternoon. Delay in voting was reported at some polling stations in erstwhile districts of Nalgonda, Mahabubnagar and Adilabad, among other places.

Minor incidents of clashes between activists from different political parties were reported in some municipalities. A minor scuffle broke out between Congress and AIMIM activists in Ganjipet polling station of Gadwal municipality. A Congress activist was reportedly injured in the scuffle, which occurred after Congress activists accused AIMIM leaders of attempting to influence voters. Police dispersed the crowd using lathicharge.

A Congress worker was taken into custody in Kamareddy town for allegedly distributing nose rings to women voters. BJP leaders demanded repolling at three polling stations in Tandur municipality, alleging that bogus voters had cast their votes. Meanwhile, a voter was reportedly arrested for taking a selfie inside a polling booth at Jangaon.

In all, 53.5 lakh voters were scheduled to cast their votes in 7,961 polling stations across 129 civic bodies. About 12,846 candidates contested from 3,052 municipal wards, including 2,727 wards in 120 municipalities and 325 divisions in nine municipal corporations along with by-poll for Dabeerpura division of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation. Polling was not held in 80 wards following the unanimous election of candidates.

About 45,000 polling staff and another 50,000 police personnel were deployed for the elections. About 6,531 polling stations were kept under surveillance through either live webcast, video coverage or micro observers.

Meanwhile, polling for 60 divisions of Karimnagar Municipal Corporation will be held on Friday. The campaign for the Corporation elections concluded on Wednesday evening.

Cong candidate bites TRS candidate’s nose

Nizamabad: In a clash between the Congress and TRS candidates contesting the municipal polls at Bodhan, the Congress candidate, in a fit of rage, bit the TRS candidate’s nose. In the 32nd ward, the TRS candidate, Mohammed Imran Sharif, alleged that the Congress candidate, Meer Ilyas Ali, was trying to get fake votes cast. A quarrel ensued between the two acticivists and in the melee the Congress candidate, Ilyas Ali, bit the TRS candidate Imran Sharif’s nose, injuring him. Police sent Sharif to Bodhan government hospital for treatment and arrested the Congress candidate.

Civic polls in State peaceful

Hyderabad: Barring a few sporadic incidents, elections to urban local bodies in the State passed off peacefully on Wednesday. Since a special focus was laid on sensitive and hyper-sensitive areas, Left Wing Extremism-affected and communally sensitive areas, the police managed to ensure that the polls went off without any major incident. About 50,000 police personnel were deployed for the purpose.

A minor clash broke out between the All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) and Congress candidates and their supporters at Ganjipeta mandal in Jogulamba Gadwal district over entering the polling booth in the morning. The police, however, dispersed them using mild force. Congress leaders at Gandhinagar of Sultanabad in Karimnagar district picked up an argument with the police for conducting searches at the house of the candidate following reports of liquor bottles being distributed.

In a ward in Manikonda municipality, a heated argument took place between two candidates following allegations over influencing voters at a polling booth. The police pacified the two groups and dispersed them. There were allegations of distribution of money and liquor to influence voters in several areas, though no formal complaints have been lodged yet.
Bhainsa incident-free
In communally sensitive areas in Bhainsa in Nirmal district, the election passed off peacefully without any reports of violence. Following the communal clash that broke out in Bhainsa a few days ago, the police had deployed 900 personnel across the region, including 400 personnel exclusively at polling booths.

“We have not received a single complaint about violence in Bhainsa during the elections. It is a huge relief for us, especially after the communal violence that broke out in the town recently,” a police official said.

Elections were conducted in 23 out of 26 wards in Bhainsa town as MIM candidates were elected unanimously in the 16th, 17th and 20th wards.

Additional Director-General of Police (Law and Order) Jitender, stating that the elections were conducted in a peaceful manner, except for a few sporadic incidents across the State, thanked everyone for helping the police department in conducting the polls in an incident-free manner.

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