Around 65 per cent polling in Andhra’s Atmakur by-election

At 6 p.m., 64.17 per cent polling was recorded..

Amaravati: Around 65 per cent polling was recorded in the by-election to the Atmakur Assembly seat in Andhra Pradesh on Thursday.

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Chief Electoral Officer M.K. Meena said the polling was peaceful and no untoward incident was reported from anywhere.

The polling, which began at 7 a.m., continued till 6 p.m. However, those standing in queues at 6 p.m. were allowed to cast their votes.

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At 6 p.m., 64.17 per cent polling was recorded. The voter turnout figure is likely to go up after receipt of final reports from all polling stations.

Polling began at all 279 polling stations in the constituency in Nellore district at 7 a.m. amid tight security.

A total of 2,13,327 voters were eligible to exercise franchise in the constituency. They comprise 1,07,367 women and 1,05,960 men.

The election authorities had made elaborate arrangements. An official said 377 Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) were installed at the polling booths.

Covid-19 protocol was followed during polling. Authorities have made arrangements for separate queues for women at all booths.

The Election Commission deployed 1,409 polling personnel. More than 1,100 police personnel were deployed as part of the security arrangements to ensure peaceful and smooth balloting.

The by-election was necessitated by the death of Industries Minister and sitting MLA M. Goutham Reddy in February this year.

The ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) has fielded Goutham Reddy’s brother M. Vikram Reddy and he is the strong favourite.

A total of 14 candidates are in the fray. They include BJP’s G. Bharat Kumar, who is President of Nellore district BJP unit.

Main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) has not fielded the candidate in line with its tradition of not contesting a by-election where a family member of deceased sitting legislator is seeking the public mandate.

The Pawan Kalyan-led Jana Sena Party (JSP), an ally of BJP, also stayed away from the bypoll.

The BJP contested the bypoll in tune with its stand not to encourage politics of inheritance by leaving elections uncontested when an incumbent passes away.

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