Hyderabad/Kolkata: An estimated 80 per cent voter turnout was recorded on Tuesday in crucial by-elections to 18 Assembly seats in Andhra Pradesh amid sporadic violence in a repeat of heavy voting last year in a Lok Sabha by-poll won by YSR Congress chief YS Jaganmohan Reddy by a record margin.
Considered to be semi-finals for the 2014 assembly elections in AP, the by-polls are expected to test the claim of the son of late Chief Minister YS Rajashekara Reddy to be his father’s political legacy in the state besides being crucial for the future prospects of the ruling Congrress which has a razor-thin majority.
By-elections were also held for Nellore Lok Sabha constituency.
Along with these elections, by-polls were held for eight seats spread across seven states.
Counting of votes will be taken up on June 15.
Bypolls were held for the Assembly constituencies of Maheswar (SC) in Madhya Pradesh, Nalchar (SC) in Tripura, Daspur and Bankura in West Bengal, Mant in Uttar Pradesh, Pudukkottai in Tamil Nadu, Kaij in Maharashtra and Hatia in Jharkhand.
Chief Election Commissioner VS Sampat said in Delhi that the average turnout for the 18 seats in Andhra Pradesh was around 80 per cent while it was 69 per cent for the two seats in West Bengal.
Voter turnout in Pudukottai in Tamil Nadu was around 70 per cent in the second by-poll in the state where former friends AIADMK and DMDK are locked in a direct face-off, with DMK choosing to skip the contest.
The fledgling political outfit of Jaganmohan Reddy is contesting all the 18 seats--17 in Rayalseema and coastal Andhra and one in Telangana and is projected to put up a good showing riding on the "sympathy" generated for his mother and sister during the campaign following his arrest in a disproportionate assets case. Jagan won the Kadapa Lok Sabha by-poll by a record margin of over five lakh votes last year.
As against the magic figure of 148 MLAs in the 294-member assembly in AP, the Congress has just 151 MLAs at present.