About 50 percent polling in Tirupati bye-election

About 19 percent of voters exercised their franchise till 11 am in the by-election to Tirupati Assembly seat in Andhra Pradesh, officials said.

Hyderabad: About 50 percent polling was recorded Friday in the by-election for Tirupati seat of Andhra Pradesh state assembly.

Election officials said 49.92 percent of the electorate cast their vote in the by-election.

The balloting began on a dull note but picked up as the day progressed. However, the turnout remained low compared to 59 percent polling recorded last year.

The start of polling was delayed at a few polling centres due to a technical snag in Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).

More than 2.94 lakh voters were eligible to cast their votes at 256 polling centres in the constituency in Chittoor district.

Elaborate security arrangements were made with deployment of more than 1,800 policemen.

For the first time, the election authorities made arrangements for web casting and video recording in all the polling stations.

The by-election was necessitated after the death of sitting legislator M. Venkatramna of ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP). The party has fielded his wife M. Suguna.

Though there are 13 candidates in the fray, it is a direct fight between Suguna and Congress party`s R. Sreedevi.

Main opposition YSR Congress Party has not fielded its candidate and its Tirupati unit has even extended support to Suguna as some independent candidates were claiming that they enjoy YSR Congress Party`s support.

Both the parties have extended support for unanimous election of their candidates in the by-elections held for Nandigama and Allagadda constituencies during last couple of months.

Votes will be counted Feb 16.

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