High turn-out in Seemandhra, more than 75% voting recorded

Braving the scorching heat, voters of Seemandhra turned out in large numbers to exercise the franchise for Lok Sabha and Assembly elections on Wednesday.

Hyderabad: Braving the scorching heat, voters of Seemandhra turned out in large numbers to exercise the franchise for Lok Sabha and Assembly elections on Wednesday even as sporadic violence and clashes between YSR Congress and TDP-BJP workers were reported from some areas especially Kadapa.

The state`s Chief Electoral Officer Bhanwar Lal said the overall polling percentage in 13 districts of Seemandhra where elections were held for 25 Lok Sabha and 175 Assembly constituencies was an impressive 77-78 per cent, as per the tentative figures, with Guntur recording the highest 83 per cent and Visakhapatnam the lowest at 73 per cent.

The final polling percentage is expected to touch 80 per cent when all the reports are compiled, he said. In 2009, Seemandhra had recorded 76 per cent turn-out.

Clashes between TDP and YSRCP workers, and some violence by Maoists were reported during the day. The Maoists torched an Electronic Voting Machine and a vehicle at Palakagidi agency area (on Andhra-Odisha border) of Visakhapatnam district, forcing authorities to order repolling in one of the polling stations.

Several workers of YSR Congress and TDP were injured in clashes in Kadapa district. Police fired in the air in Guntur and Kadapa districts to disperse the workers.
About Rs eight crore in unaccounted-for cash was seized during the day, which took the total cash seized so far to Rs 152 crore since the model code of conduct came into force across Andhra Pradesh.

Having been out of power for a decade, today`s elections were a do-or-die battle for TDP supremo N Chandrababu Naidu, who has forged an electoral alliance with BJP. His main rival is YSR Congress chief Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy.

Today`s elections, the last general election to be held in the undivided Andhra Pradesh, were conducted amid a heavy security.

Elections in Telangana, which is to become the 29th state of the country, were held on April 30.

"In East Godavari district, one person died due to cardiac arrest and not in the clashes; another voter died near a polling station due to sun stroke and heavy consumption of liquor at Niziveedu in Krishna district," Bhanwar Lal said.

Most incidents of violence were reported from the districts of Kadapa, Chittoor and Guntur.

Police fired in the air to disperse a group of YSR Congress workers who allegedly tried to drive out rival party`s polling agent from Ramireddypalem booth in Guntur district, police said.

Two senior police officers ?- Venkatappal Naidu and Rajesh Kumar ?- came under attack and their vehicles were damaged after a mob pelted them with stones as they tried to regulate the queue at a polling booth in Jammalamadugu in Kadapa district.

Tempers ran high and the atmosphere was charged-up in Kadapa district, where incidents of violence were reported from Jammalamadugu, Proddutur and Mydukur Assembly segments as YSRCP and TDP workers resorted to stone-pelting. Several vehicles got damaged.

Police also resorted to firing on rampaging groups of YSRCP and TDP workers near a polling booth at Reddivari Palli in Kodur Assembly constituency.

YSR Congress and TDP workers also clashed in many places in the district, including Proddutur and Mydukur segments, leaving around 30 persons, including two police constables, injured.

Six vehicles, including those belonging to police, were damaged. A media van covering the polling at Nadavalur in Chittoor district was attacked by a mob.

A total of 333 candidates are in the fray for 25 Lok
Sabha seats whereas 2,241 candidate are contesting from across 175 Assembly constituencies in Seemandhra (made up of Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra), where the main contest is between YSRCP and TDP-BJP combine.

Congress has been projected to end up a distant third.

YSRCP chief Jagan Mohan Reddy contested Assembly election for the first time today from Pulivendula in Kadapa district, while Chandrababu Naidu sought re-election from Kuppam, which he is representing in the Assembly since 1989.

Naidu`s brother-in-law and actor N Balakrishna is TDP candidate in Hindupur Assembly segment.

Four Union Ministers were in the fray for Lok Sabha today: Kotla Suryaprakash Reddy (Kurnool), M M Pallam Raju (Kakinada), Kishore Chandra Deo (Araku) and Panabaka Lakshmi (Bapatla).

Former Union Minister D Purandeswari, who quit Congress and joined the BJP, is contesting from Rajampet.

One of the keenly-watched contest is the one between honorary president of YSR Congress Y S Vijayamma, the wife of late Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, and Seemandhra BJP chief K Hari Babu in Visakhapatnam.

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