Amaravati: Over 20 percent of voters have cast their votes in the first four hours in the by-election to the Badvel Assembly seat in Andhra Pradesh on Saturday.
According to the state’s Chief Electoral Officer K. Vijayanand, 20.89 percent of voting was recorded since people started casting their ballots at 7 a.m. in 281 polling stations.
“No untoward incident has been reported from anywhere,” he said.
The poll authorities have made elaborate security arrangements for the polling in the constituency in Kadapa, the home district of Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy.
Badvel, reserved for Scheduled Castes, is one of the Assembly segments of the Kadapa Lok Sabha seat being held by the YSR family for over three decades.
The CEO said the allegations of bogus voting and outsiders being brought were not true. He said technical snags were noticed in Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) during mock polling at three polling stations and the same was rectified before the beginning of the actual polling.
Vijayanand was monitoring the polling process through webcasting. Arrangements have been made for webcasting from all polling stations. The poll officials also engaged 271 videographers to keep track of the activity outside the polling stations.
A total of 2,16,139 voters, including 1,07,340 women and two transgenders, are eligible to cast their votes.
Polling will be held till 7 p.m. Voters infected with Covid-19 can exercise their franchise between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Fifteen companies of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), and the Border Security Force (BSF), and 1,606 personnel of Andhra Pradesh police were deployed.
Meanwhile, mild tension prevailed at S. Venkatapuram in Atluru mandal when BJP workers alleged that outsiders were brought there to cast votes. Police sent back 40 women who came to the polling station without identity cards.
BJP state chief Somu Veerraju lodged a complaint with the Kadapa District Superintendent of Police K.K.N. Anburajan.
He also alleged that BJP agents were being harassed at a few polling stations.
BJP MP C.M. Ramesh also alleged that police and YSRCP workers have colluded for bogus voting. He said irregularities were being committed at several polling centers where central forces were not deployed.
A total of 15 candidates are testing their political fortunes in the by-poll, caused by the death of sitting MLA G. Venkatasubbaiah of the ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP).
YSRCP has fielded his widow Dasari Sudha, who is locked in a three-cornered contest against Congress party’s M. Kamalamma and BJP’s P. Suresh.
The main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) is not contesting the byelection in line with its tradition of supporting the family members of the deceased MLA.