Polling is being held in 119 constituencies in Telangana, India’s newest State, on Friday. The Congress-led Praja Kutami (People’s Front) also comprising the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), the Telangana Jana Samithi and the CPI are taking on the ruling Telangana Rashtriya Samiti (TRS) who are allied with the AIMIM. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is also contesting the elections hoping to make in-roads in the southern India.
Here are the live updates:
Voting picks up
Kothagudem constituency spanning the coal mining region in the tribal dominated Bhadradri-Kothagudem district records high voter turn out of 14.4 %, followed by 12 % each in Bhadrachalam and Yellandu constituencies, 11 % in Aswaraopet constituency and 9.5 % in Pinapaka constituency in the first two hours of polling.
Karimnagar district reported average of 21.17 per cent polling till 11 am, while Warangal district registers an average of 30 per cent.
Doorstep pick-up for voters with disabilities
The Election Commission has issued directions for making available proper transport facility for persons with disabilities at all polling stations for cast their votes in Hyderabad on Friday.
| Photo Credit: Nagara Gopal
The physically challenged and disabled persons in Hyderabad will be carried to the respective polling stations through vehicles organised by GHMC.
For their convenience, 150 vehicles have been deployed throughout the city, with staggered routes so that the disabled voters can be picked up from their doorstep and taken to the polling station, the District Election Officer M. Dana Kishore said, after flagging off the vehicles on Thursday.
The vehicles will start between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m., with routes changing every two hours so as to cover all the assigned routes. This will last till the end of the polling.
Munugode constituency in Nalagonda has recorded 21.6% polling till 10:30 am, the highest in the State so far.
Polling has crossed over 10 per cent in most constituencies.
Jogulamba-Gadwal district reported 15 per cent polling and Wanaparthy 6 per cent in the first two hours.
An Adivasi-Lambada war of attrition
Tribal women wait for their turn to vote at Chinna Tanda in Khammam district.
| Photo Credit: G.N.Rao
A year since the beginning of their campaign for the expulsion of the Lambada tribe from the Scheduled Tribes list, the Adivasis in Telangana are looking forward to the Assembly election to help the movement gain political currency. No political party, however, has paid the kind of attention that the nine aboriginal tribes expect to get for their demand.
Former Congress MLA T. Narsareddy alleges that he was forcibly brought to home from polling station by ACP Narayana even though he was 200 metres away from polling station.
He claims was not allowed even to sit outside, and the police threatened to register case against him.
Moderate polling in Khammam
A dull to moderate polling was recorded in the first two hours in the five constituencies in the district – Khammam (7 %), Palair (9%), Madhira (8 %), Wyra (8 %) and Sattupalli (9 %).
Incidents of glitches in EVMs were reported from polling stations at Indiranagar in Khammam and one polling booth in Madhira town and a few other places in the district.
Bhadrachalam tribal constituency recorded 12 % polling in the first two hours.
Protesting lack of development, residents of Raghavapuram village in Mothey mandal of Suryapet boycott polls.
Voters from 26 division in Khammam also boycott the polls citing the same reason.
Polling delayed for two hours in polling booth 220 in Banjara Hills Road No 13 under Khairatabad constituency because of faulty EVM. It was replaced by another unit and polling began at 9 am.
Voters complained that they had to stand for two hours though they came at 7 am and they were still waiting for their turn.
9% polling till 9 am
Youngsters first time voters showing their marked fingers after casting their votes during General Elections Telangana State Legislative Assembly -2018 at St. Nizamis High School in Banjara Hills on Friday.
| Photo Credit: Nagara Gopal
Amid spree of complaints on the non functioning EVMs, close to 10% voting was registered in the first two hours in several parts of across Telangana. According to information received by election officials, 8.97% polling was reported till 9 am.
Polling begins on calm note in Warangal
Polling began on a cool note across five districts here on friday and at the end of first two hours about 9% polling was registered on an average.Small queues were seen in urban polling booths while long queues were in rural parts.Political leaders and district collectors were first to cast their votes.
16% polling in Andole
Polling commenced at brisk pace in the erstwhile Medak district and large number of people were seen standing at polling booths.
Even before the polling process began people stood in queue. In the first two hours,the polling in Sangareddy was 14%, Narayankhed 8.5%, Zaheerabad 12%, Andole 16% and Patancheru 10%.
At Shivampet in Narsapur constituency of Medak district, TRS workers were seen asking voters to vote for the party while no activist of Congress were seen where former minister V. Sunitha Lakshma Reddy is contesting.
Mothkupalli Narsimhulu, an independent candidate of Aler constituency in Yadadr-Bhuvanagiri district complains of chest pain, shifted to Hyderabad.
Yadadri Bhuvanagiri district with two Assembly constituencies – Aler and Bhongir, registers 4.09 and 11.08 poll percentage respectively till 9 a.m.
Where is my polling booth?
The Election Commission’s promise of distribution of photo voter slips with a route map to the polling station has fallen flat in the city, with many electors not even receiving the slips, let alone the route map.
Only a few electors in the 15 constituencies of the Hyderabad district have got elaborate voter slips with route maps printed overleaf, while practically none in the constituencies falling in Ranga Reddy and Medchal districts have received even simple voter slips.
However, the tech-savvy citizens have the option of downloading the slips from the Chief Electoral Officer’s website ‘ceotelangana.nic.in’.
Commissioner of Police, Tafsir Iqbal, and his wife showing ink mark after casting vote in Khammam on Friday.
| Photo Credit: Mohd Arif
PM Modi’s appeal to voters
“Today is polling day. I request all my brothers and sisters in Telangana to come and vote in large numbers and strengthen the democracy,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted in Telugu.
He also made a special appeal to the youth to exercise their franchise.
Former Union Minister and actor Chiranjeevi and his wife Surekha after casting their votes at Jubilee Hills in Hyderabad on Friday.
| Photo Credit: K.V.S. Giri
Complaints from several constituencies over non-functional EVMs are pouring in. However, officials in CEO’s office say they haven’t received any complaints so far.
In Malkajgiri, over 2000 voters left in lurch as polling station shifted without notice
Over 2000 voters in polling station numbers 311,312, 313 and 314 allotted to a private school in Old Alwal were left in lurch as the polling station was shifted to another place without any prior notice.The polling station located in Loyola High School in Father Balaiah Nagar of Old Alwal in Malkajgiri Assembly constituency has four booths as per the original allotment.
But, to the surprise of the voters, they found the school locked and none to guide them. While the school is said to have been shut down for over two years, the authorities still allotted four polling stations. After great difficulty, the voters were asked to approach Loyola Academy Degree and PG College, located a good two km away.
On reaching the place, voters were told that only two booths 311 and 312 were located there while two others 313, 314 and 314 A, were moved to St Pious High School in Alwal Hills, 3 kms from the actual polling station.
Polling gets delayed by one hour at two booths in St. Paul’s Hi-Tech school at Kutbiguda under Amberpet constituency as EVMs failed. Polling agents of various parties are demanding extension of polling by one hour.
Jagadish Reddy remarks creates controversy
Minister for Energy and SC Development in the caretaker government G. Jagadish Reddy displays his inked finger after casting his vote in Suryapet.
TDP president L. Ramana has sought action against Minister G. Jagadish Reddy for claiming that the vote cast for Praja Kutami is in favour of Amaravati, the capital of neighbouring Andhra Pradesh. Mr. Reddy reportedly made these comments after casting his vote.
The TDP has alleged that Mr. Reddy is trying to provoke sentiments to influence the voters. The party’s legal cell is planning to lodge a complaint with the election authority seeking action against the Minister.
Voters wait as polling is yet to begin in Chaitanyapuri Chaitanya esmart school polling station till 8 am due to EVM snag.
| Photo Credit: Swathi V
A bad start to polling at Chaitanyapuri, in Hyderabad. Voters were kept waiting even after an hou at Chaitanya esmart school polling station, booth number 46, owing to EVM snag.
Chief Electoral Officer Rajat Kumar and Joint CEO Amrapali Kata are monitoring the poll proceedings from the Poll Day Monitoring Cell, the control room, set up by the State election authority at Secretariat.
Mr. Rajat Kumar said reports on minor clashes in some constituencies late on Thursday night were sent to the EC seeking it’s guidance for further action.
Sindhu returns without casting her vote
Shuttler P.V. Sindhu and her family sets out to vote, in Hyderabad on Friday.
| Photo Credit: K.V.S. Giri
Shuttler P.V. Sindhu had to return without casting her vote since the EVM was malfunctioning, thus delaying polling process in Kokapet in Hyderabad. She said she will come back later in the day after her practice session.
For a disabled-friendly voting process
A volunteer helps a differently-abled person at a polling station in Hyderabad.
| Photo Credit: K.V.S. Giri
The size of the electorate in Telangana has shrunk by a few lakh voters. But, the number of voters who are classified as persons with disabilities has nearly tripled over the past two months. In the first week of October, the Telangana Election Commission detailed the updated rolls for the State. It listed 2,35,299 persons with disabilities as voters. This number has nearly tripled to about 7 lakh.
Here is the story of M. Srinivasulu, a person with a locomotor disability, whose RTI application paved way for Telangana to bring in facilities for People with Disabilities to have a hassle-free voting experience.
Sudden change of polling venue irks voters
Polling at booth number 314 in Hyderabad is yet to start as the EVM is not functioning. Voters are agitated as the polling station was shifted from LOYOLA Hugh School at Father Balaiah Nagar in Old Alwal to St Pious High School in Skwal, two km away. A large number of voters were seen waiting at the old poliling station.
Ministers T. Harish Rao, T. Nageswara Rao and G. Jagadish Reddy are among the early voters. While Mr. Harish Rao exercised his franchise in Siddipet, Mr. Nageswara Rao voted in Palair and Mr. Jagadish Reddy cast his vote in Suryapet.
Nalgonda MP Gutha Sukender Reddy and TRS candidate N. Bhaskar Rao cast their vote in Miryalaguda.
Badmintom champion P.V. Sindhu was also among the early voters. She set out for voting along with her family members.
S.K. Saji, one of the early voters.
S.K. Saji, one of the early voters.
Here is S.K. Saji, one of the early voters in Khammam. The 80-year-old woman arrived at the polling booth with a minor relative to assist her.
Voters queue up at a polling booth in Hyderabad’s Attapur area to exercise their franchise on Friday.
| Photo Credit: Serish Nanisetti
In Hyderabad’s Attapur area, officials struggled to make the Electronic Voting Machines functional at Polling Station 145/51 even as voters started arriving early in the day. Polling is underway.
Polling will be held between 7 am and 5 pm in 106 constituencies while it will be from 7 am to 4 pm in the 13 constituencies identified as sensitive for left-wing extremist activities.
Malkajgiri constituency has the highest number of 42 contestants and Banswada the least with six.
Over 2.8 crore voters, 1.41 crore men and 1.39 crore women including 7.04 lakh voters under the age of 20, will exercise their franchise in 32,815 polling stations across Telangana. In all 1,821 candidates, 515 of national and state recognised political parties, are testing their fortunes in the election, the first full-fledged election after the formation of the State.