A shepherd who cast his vote shows ink-marked finger in Nizamabad on Thursday.
| Photo Credit: RAMANA K V
Telangana witnessed relatively peaceful polling on Thursday with no major untoward incidents and the most disappointing factor being low voter turnout compared to the previous elections despite the high-octane campaign.
Polling was held for 119 seats with Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao seeking a third term and the Congress challenging him based on the ‘failed’ promises and anti-incumbency factor coupled with its six promises to the Telangana people. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was the other major player.
The voter turnout stood at 63.94% as per the latest reports but the exact figure is likely to come late in the night on Thursday. Compared to previous years low voter turnout was witnessed in majority areas and Hyderabad was the worst with the poll percentage touching 40% compared to 50% in 2018.
Jangaon saw 80.23% and other districts that saw decent voter turn out included Medak (80.28%), Warangal (73.04%), Wanaparthy (72.60%), Kamareddy (71%), Karimnagar (69.22%), Peddapalli (69.83%), Nizamabad (68.30%), Rangareddy (53.03%).
Polling started at 7 a.m. sharp but the poll percentage did not pick up till lunchtime. The maximum number of voters turned up between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. and long queues were seen even after the polling time of 5 p.m. ending. However, those who entered the stations before the deadline were allowed to vote.
Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao completing the process before casting his vote in a polling station at Chintamadaka village in Siddipet district on Thursday.
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Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao cast his vote in his native village Chintamadaka, in Siddipet district along with his wife while TPCC president A. Revanth Reddy cast his vote in Kodangal from where he is contesting. He held a Go Puja at his home in Kodangal before the polling seeking divine blessings.
Other top leaders like BJP State chief G. Kishan Reddy, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi, and Minister for IT K.T. Rama Rao among others voted in the city. Film stars and other celebrities have also exercised their franchise since morning at various polling booths in the city.
Tension prevailed in several places across North Telangana where the BRS and Congress workers clashed with each other levelling accusations of money distribution or illegal entry into the polling booths. Minister Indrakaran Reddy entered the polling booth with the BRS party scarf and a complaint was lodged. Huzurnagar MLA Saidi Reddy picked up an argument with the Circle Inspector in the constituency when he objected to his entry into the booth wearing the party scarf.
Police personnel keeping a vigil at Telangana Assembly elections, at Jalagam Nagar in Khammam district on Thursday.
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The BRS and Congress cadres clashed in Jangaon and other constituencies in erstwhile Warangal district. However, there was no major violence reported from anywhere in the State, with the police making tight security arrangements with the help of Central paramilitary forces and police personnel deployed from other States.