72 percent turnout in Telangana; poll largely peaceful

People of Telangana today turned out in big numbers to cast their votes in the largely peaceful polls as an air of expectancy enveloped the region that would formally recieve the statehood tag in less than five weeks.

Zee Media Bureau/Deepak Nagpal

8:00 pm: 72% turnout in Telangana

People of Telangana today turned out in big numbers to cast their votes in the largely peaceful polls as an air of expectancy enveloped the region that would formally recieve the statehood tag in less than five weeks.

Police also heaved a sigh of relief as the simultaneous elections to 17 Lok Sabha and 119 Assembly constituencies, including ten left-wing extremism-affected ones, in Telangana passed off trouble-free, barring stray incidents.

6:50 pm:Nearly 70 percent peaceful polling was recorded for 17 Lok Sabha seats and 119 state Assembly seats in Telangana.
Officials said the polling was 68 percent at 5 pm Those standing in queues at 6 pm will be allowed to vote, said chief electoral officer Bhanwarlal, as per IANS.

4:00 pm: 60% voters cast vote till 3 pm

Nearly 60 per cent polling was recorded till 3 pm for the 17 Lok Sabha seats and 119 state Assembly seats in Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh.

Barring minor incidents, balloting was on peacefully amid tight security at 30,574 polling booths across 10 districts of Telangana including Hyderabad.

While nine districts recorded heavy polling, the turnout was low in Hyderabad. Chief electoral officer Bhanwarlal said 51 percent votes were polled in the city. Highest turnout of 65 percent was recorded in Medak district.

No incident was reported from any of the 10 Maoist affected Assembly constituencies, he said. Polling in three of these constituencies will end at 4 pm and in the rest at 5 pm.

Clashes between workers of rival parties were reported from Mahabubnagar and Ranga Reddy districts.

2:30 pm: 50% polling in Telangana by 1 pm

Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh, where polling is being held simultaneously for 119 Assembly and 17 Lok Sabha seats, witnessed an impressive turnout of about 50 per cent till 1 pm.

State Chief Electoral Officer Bhanwar Lal told reporters that Nizamabad recorded the highest percentage of 57 while Hyderabad recorded lowest turnout of 32.5 per cent, out of the 10 districts where polling is on.

2:15 pm: Burnt currency notes found

Andhra Pradesh police found burnt currency notes in a vehicle on the outskirts of Suryapet town in Nalgonda district on Wednesday.

The multi-purpose vehicle, on its way to Kodad in the district from Hyderabad, was pasted with sticker of Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) working president and former minister N Uttam Kumar Reddy, police said.

"We don`t know whether the vehicle belonged to him or his followers or somebody else. Probe is on," a police official said.

"The vehicle was found abandoned. Our police team found burnt currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denomination. The exact amount which was being carried in the vehicle is still not known. The driver is absconding," Nalgonda Superintendent of Police T Prabhakar Rao told PTI over phone.

The bag containing the cash was kept on the vehicle`s engine and due to heat, it caught fire resulting in the burning of the notes, the SP said, adding they had registered a case in this regard and further investigations were on.

2:00 pm: TRS chief confident of governing Telangana

Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief K Chandrasekhara Rao cast his vote on Wednesday at his Chintamadaka village in Medak district and exuded confidence that his party would form the government in Telangana on its own.

"We will get two-third majority," he said when asked if the TRS would join hands with the Congress to form the first government in Telangana.

"I am 100 percent confident. There is no doubt. There is a tremendous wave. We will (win) closer to 90 (Assembly seats)," he added.

Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president N Chandrababu Naidu also voted Wednesday in Hyderabad.

Naidu was confident that the TDP-BJP alliance would form the government in Telangana. He urged people to take a right decision while deciding the future of Telangana.

Also Read: TRS chief votes, confident of governing Telangana
12:50 pm: Over 26% polling till 12 noon

ANI reports that 26.96 per cent electorate in the Telangana region had exercised their right to cast votes by 12 noon.

11:00 am: Brisk polling in initial hours

Brisk polling was reported in parts of Telangana in the initial hours of election today.

Chief Electoral Officer Bhanwar Lal told reporters that "by 9 am, 15.3 per cent voters had cast their ballots. The polling is going on peacefully at all the polling stations."

Lal said Mahabubnagar district recorded the highest percentage of 17.1 in the first two hours while Hyderabad recorded lowest 10.4 per cent voter turnout among the 10 districts where polling is going on.

Among the early voters were Union Minister and AP Congress Campaign Committee chairman K Chiranjeevi, film actors Pawan Kalyan, Nagarjuna, Venkatesh and Nandamuri Balakrishna, badminton star Saina Nehwal and DGP B Prasada Rao.

10:30 am: Technical snag in EVMs delays polling

Technical snag in Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) led to delay in start of the polling at some polling centres.

Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Bhanwarlal told reporters that some EVMs received from Electronic Corporation of India Limited (ECIL), Hyderabad were in factory mode and the polling staff was unable to use them.

He, however, said such EVMs were being replaced in 20 minutes to half-an-hour as every district has 2,000 EVMs in reserve.

"There is a small technical snag in new EVMs. They are in factory mode and they have to be sent back to the factory but we have sufficient number of machines for immediate replacement," he said.

The election authorities are using 100,000 EVMs. The CEO said these were new machines which arrived two days ago from ECIL and Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL).
10:00 am: Voter tells Chiranjeevi to stand in queue

Indian politicians` VIP mindset was on display again on Wednesday when Congress leader Chiranjeevi tried to jump the queue outside a polling booth in Andhra Pradesh.

Chiranjeevi, who had come to the polling booth to cast his vote, tried to enter the premises even though there were a number of people waiting in queue outside.

He was then asked by a voter standing in queue, as per ANI, “Do you need special treatment?”

Soon after, others waiting for their turn at the polling center applauded Kartik who told Chiranjeevi to go to the back of the line.

“I respect him, but he should follow the queue. He is not over 65 or disabled,” Kartik told reporters later.

“I never violate rules. I had just left the queue to see if my name is there in the voting list,” Chiranjeevi said in his defence, blaming the media for overreacting.

9:15 am: First-time voters enthusiastic about polling

Enthusiasm was writ large on people`s faces as they queued up at polling stations since 7 am today to exercise their franchise.

A group of youngsters was the first to reach the polling station at City Central Library under Musheerabad Assembly constituency in Hyderabad to cast votes for the first time.

"It`s thrilling," exclaimed Pratyusha, an engineering student, after she got her right index finger inked upon casting her first vote.

State Governor ESL Narasimhan and his spouse Vimala Narasimhan reached the Raj Nagar polling station at MS Maktha, opposite the Raj Bhavan, to cast their votes.

State Chief Electoral Officer Bhanwarlal cast his vote at the polling station at IAS Officers Colony.

8:00 am: Polling underway in Telangana region

Weeks ahead of its planned bifurcation, Andhra Pradesh is holding the first phase of simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly Elections on Wednesday.

Polling is being held for 17 Lok Sabha seats and 119 state Assembly seats in the Telangana region today.

Among the key contestants on Parliamentary seats going to polls are Union Ministers S Jaipal Reddy, Sarve Satyanarayana and Balram Naik, Telangana Rashtra Samithi chief K Chandrasekhara Rao, Lok Satta Party chief Jayaprakash Narayan and Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) president Asaduddin Owaisi.

Leading candidates for Assembly constituencies include TRS chief Rao, Congress` Telangana unit president Ponnala Lakshmaiah, working president Uttam Kumar Reddy, former deputy chief minister Damodar Rajanarasimha, and former state ministers Geeta Reddy and D Sridhar Babu.

Polling is being held at 30,574 polling booths today, with 265 candidates in the fray for the Lok Sabha and 1,669 for the Assembly seats.

Over 28.17 million electors are eligible to exercise their franchise.

In three out of the 10 left-wing extremism-affected Assembly constituencies in the region, polling will be held till 4 pm while in the other seven it will conclude at 5 pm. In the remaining 109 segments, polling will end at 6 pm, according to the Chief Electoral Officer.

Four helicopters of the Indian Air Force have been stationed in districts for contingencies even as a strong posse of 90,000 police and para-military personnel has been deployed in ten districts of Telangana to oversee security.

The state will be bifurcated on June 2 to create a separate Telangana.