Hyderabad: An estimated 55 percent of 23.60 lakh voters cast their votes in by-elections to 12 assembly seats in Andhra Pradesh`s Telangana region Tuesday.
Barring minor incidents, the polling remained peaceful. Voting ended at 5 p.m. but the election authorities allowed all those standing in the queues to cast their votes.
The polling, which began on a dull note in the morning, picked up as the day progressed.
The highest polling percentage of 75 was recorded in Siddipet while it was only 51 percent in Nizamabad Urban, where state Congress chief D. Srinivas is contesting.
Director General of Police R.R. Girish Kumar said polling was peaceful though rumours caused some tension in Nizamabad Urban constituency.
Chief Electoral Officer I.V. Subba Rao told reporters that no major incident was reported from any of 2,783 polling stations in the 12 constituencies spread over five districts.
Police used mild force to disperse two clashing groups of ruling Congress and Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) supporters outside a polling centre in Vemulawada assembly constituency in Karimnagar district.
Ballot papers were used in five constituencies where the number of candidates exceeded 64 while in the remaining seven segments voters cast their votes by pressing a button on Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).
About 23.60 lakh voters, nearly half of them women, were eligible to cast their votes in the by-elections caused by the resignation of all 10 legislators of the TRS and one each of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) on the issue of a separate Telangana state early this year.
As many as 435 candidates are in the fray for the by-elections, which are being seen as a referendum on the issue of a separate Telangana.
About 68,000 security personnel were deployed to maintain law and order. Around 15,000 polling personnel were also on duty.
Polling was delayed in some centres due to non-functioning of EVMs. The slush in and around some centres due to incessant rains over last three days caused some inconvenience to voters, especially in Adilabad district.
State Congress chief D. Srinivas and former minister Mohammed Ali Shabbir are among key candidates from the ruling Congress. TRS has again fielded all its former legislators and left one seat for the BJP.
TRS candidates include party chief K. Chandrasekhara Rao`s son K. Tarakarama Rao, nephew T. Harish Rao and party`s former leader in assembly E. Rajender.
Votes will be counted July 30 and the results are expected to be announced the same day.