Over 82% polling in Telangana’s Dubbak constituency

Hyderabad, Nov 3 (IANS) The Dubbak Assembly constituency in Telangana registered 82.61 per cent voter turnout in the by-elections held on Tuesday.

The polling, held at 315 polling stations amid tight security, was peaceful, election officials said.

The polling percentage has come down compared to 2018 elections, when 89.85 per cent voters had cast their votes.

The polling process, which began at 7 a.m., concluded at 6 p.m. The eligible voters among Covid-19 patients in the constituency were allowed to cast their votes during the last one hour.

A total of 1,98,807 voters comprising 97,978 men, 1,00,778 women and 51 service voters were eligible to cast their votes.

Officials said that no untoward incident was reported during the polling. Counting of votes will be taken up on November 10.

The election authorities had made elaborate arrangements in compliance with the Covid-19 norms like thermal screening, physical distancing, ensuring masks and gloves. The Covid patients were provided PPE kits.

A total of 23 candidates are in the fray for the bypoll, necessitated by the death of S. Ramalinga Reddy of the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) in August this year due to ill-health.

The TRS has fielded Ramalinga Reddy’s widow S. Sujatha from the seat. She is locked in a three-cornered contest with Congress’ Cheruku Srinivas Reddy and BJP’s M. Raghunandan Rao.

While Sujatha and Srinivas Reddy, son of former minister Cheruku Muthyam Reddy, are contesting the polls for the first time, Raghunandan Rao had finished third both in 2014 and 2018 in the same constituency.

Meanwhile, the leaders of the Congress have lodged a complaint with the election authorities and Director General of Police M. Mahender Reddy over fake news on social media that the party candidate had pulled out from the contest.

The fake news, circulated with logo of a leading Telugu news channel, went viral on social media. It claimed that the Congress candidate announced his support to TRS.

More than 5,000 revenue and police personnel, including men drawn from Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), were deployed as part of the elaborate arrangements to ensure free and fair polls.

Banking on the performance of the government during the last six years and the sympathy factor, the TRS is confident of retaining the seat while both the opposition parties are trying to wrest it to emerge as an alternative to the TRS.

Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao and his son K.T. Rama Rao, a cabinet minister and working president of TRS, both stayed away from campaign, which was led by Chandrasekhar Rao’s nephew T. Harish Rao.

The acrimonious campaign saw the leaders of three major parties trading allegations and counter allegations. The seizure of cash from the relatives of the BJP candidate had kicked up a row with the saffron party alleging that the TRS planted the money as it was scared of defeat.

The police said out of Rs 18.67 lakh seized from a relative of Raghunandan Rao in Siddipet town on October 26, the BJP leaders snatched Rs 12.80 lakh from the officials.

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