Hyderabad: The ruling Congress recovered a bit in the second phase of elections to gram panchayats in Andhra Pradesh by securing a lead in 10 districts while main opposition Telugu Desam continued its good run emerging on top in nine districts as per the trends available on Saturday evening.
Trouble, however, continued for Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy as the Congress was relegated to the fourth position -- after TDP, YSRC and independents -- in his native Chittoor district.
About 88 per cent polling has been reported in 6,971 gram panchayats under 29 revenue divisions where election was conducted today. Third phase polling will be held on July 31.
Barring some stray incidents, polling passed off peacefully, sources in the State Election Commission said.
The election was countermanded at five gram panchayats in the agency area of Visakhapatnam district after suspected activists of the CPI (Maoist) snatched away the nomination papers, State Election Commissioner P Ramakanth Reddy said.
Polling there would be held on August 13 according to the revised schedule.
Congress established lead in Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, East Godavari, Kurnool, Mahbubnagar, Karimnagar, Adilabad, Nalgonda, Medak and Warangal districts.
The TDP-backed candidates were leading in Visakhapatnam, West Godavari, Krishna, Guntur, Prakasam, Chittoor, Anantapur, Ranga Reddy and Khammam districts when reports last came in.
YSR Congress-supported candidates were leading in SPS Nellore and Kadapa districts while Telangana Rashtra Samiti had to be content with only second or third position in the entire Telangana region.
Even in Warangal and Medak districts, where it gained an upper hand in the first phase, the TRS has now been edged out by the Congress.
A clear picture of the results will be available only tomorrow after the counting process is over.
Stray incidents of violence were reported at some places
during the polling but nowhere was the process disturbed, a senior police officer said.
Tension prevailed at Mulapadu village under Ibrahimpatnam mandal when TDP workers established that 78 voters were registered at a particular door number. They alleged that the Congress was trying to vitiate the election through bogus voters.
Mylavaram TDP MLA Devineni Umamaheswara Rao was detained by police when he joined the protest. TDP and Congress supporters clashed, following which the police used force.
Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code were clamped in the village.
Villagers of Laxmapur and Marepalli in Nizamabad district boycotted the election demanding special gram panchayat status, while at Medikonduru ST Colony, people did not vote demanding redressal of local grievances.
Tension prevailed at Dommalapadu village in Guntur district before the polling process began at 7 AM as Congress and Telugu Desam supporters hurled stones at each other.
Special police teams rushed to the village to quell the mobs and thereafter the polling process continued unhindered, officials said.
At Bhimavaram village in Guntur district, a minor clash broke out as one polling agent allegedly insisted on voters showing him the ballot while casting the vote. Police had to resort to a lathicharge to disperse the clashing villagers.
In Kurnool district, Banaganapalli Congress MLA Katasani Rami Reddy and former MLA Challa Ramakrishna Reddy were placed under house arrest to prevent faction fights. TDP leader Janardhan Reddy was also detained at his house.
Villagers sat on a dharna at Dukkada in Vizianagaram district after police lathicharged voters who stood in a group at a polling booth. Higher officials intervened and pacified the irate villagers.
Four YSR Congress activists were arrested while they were allegedly distributing cash to voters at Koyyalagudem in West Godavari district.