Hyderabad: Over 23 percent polling was recorded by 11 a.m. in Telangana Assembly elections on Friday, the official said.
According to information reaching the election authorities in Hyderabad, 23.17 percent of over 2.8 crore voters have cast their votes in the first four hours.
The polling, which began on a dull note at 7 a.m. has picked up in the last two hours. Long queues of voters including women were seen especially in rural areas.
Chief Electoral Officer Rajath Kumar said the polling has so far been peaceful and smooth.
Polling was underway in all the 119 constituencies — 32,815 polling stations spread across 31 districts — in the first full-fledged elections in India’s youngest state.
In some polling centers, the process started late due to technical glitches in Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), the poll official said.
Of the total electorate, nearly half are women eligible to exercise their franchise to decide the political fortunes of 1,821 candidates including Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao and his 14 cabinet colleagues.
Rajath Kumar said polling will continue till 5 p.m. except in 13 Left Wing Extremism affected constituencies, where it will end an hour early.
Over 50,000 security personnel, including 18,860 drafted from neighboring states and central forces, were deployed as part of the massive security arrangements.
Over 1.50 lakh polling personnel was on duty to conduct the polling process. As many as 55,329 EVMs and 39,763 control units were arranged for the polling.
For the first time, the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) were installed across the state. The authorities have arranged 42,751 VVPATs, which are attached to the EVMs and will display for seven seconds the choice made by the voter.
The elections were expected to be a close contest between ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), which is contesting all seats on its own, and the opposition Congress-led People’s Front that includes Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Communist Party of India and Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS).
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is contesting all seats on its own, is the third key force in some constituencies.
The Bahujan Left Front led by the Communist Party of India-Marxist and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) are also contesting the majority of the seats.
All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) is contesting eight seats in Hyderabad.
The TRS had opted for dissolution of Assembly in September, eight months before its term was to end.