All arrangements have been completed for the counting of votes polled in the October 30 bye-elections in Huzurabad and Badvel Assembly constituencies in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh respectively. In Huzurabad the counting of votes will be taken up from 8 am on Tuesday at SRR College. Telangana Chief Electoral Officer Shashank Goel told reporters in Hyderabad on Monday that all arrangements were in place for the counting.
Counting of postal ballots will be taken up first. Subsequently, votes registered in Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) will be counted. Two halls have been arranged for counting with 7 tables in each hall. The counting process will be completed in 22 rounds. Each round is expected to take 20-30 minutes. The presence of a large number of candidates in the fray could lead to a delay in the declaration of results.
The CEO clarified that the video of the VVPAT unit which went viral on social media on Sunday was not among the units used in the polling. He said the video was taken when the machine was being transported but it was not used for the elections. After the video went viral, the opposition BJP and the Congress had accused the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) of attempts to change the verdict in its favour by switching EVMs and VVPAT units.
Meanwhile, the Election Commission has prohibited any victory procession after the counting. According to the orders issued by the CEO, not more than two persons will be allowed to accompany the winning candidate or his representative while receiving the certificate of election from the Returning Officer.
In the fiercely contested by-election, 86.33 per cent of nearly 2.37 lakh voters cast their votes. The poll percentage was 2.5 per cent higher than the turnout in 2018. Out of 2,36,837 voters, 2,05,053 cast their votes in the by-election, which was peaceful barring minor skirmishes between the TRS and BJP supporters.
A total of 30 candidates were in the fray in the by-election, caused by the resignation of Eatala Rajender after he was dropped from the state cabinet by Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao following allegations of land grabbing. Rajender, who has been representing the Huzurabad seat since 2009, contested as a BJP candidate. He was locked in a direct fight against Gellu Srinivas Yadav of the TRS. Election authorities in Badvel constituency in Andhra Pradesh have also made all arrangements for the counting.
The constituency, reserved for Scheduled Castes, saw 68.12 per cent polling. A total of 2,16,139 voters were eligible to cast their votes.
Fifteen candidates tested their political fortunes in the bypoll, caused by the death of sitting MLA G. Venkatasubbaiah of the ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP). The YSRCP fielded his wife Dasari Sudha, who was locked in a three-cornered contest against the Congress party's M. Kamalamma and the BJP's P. Suresh. The main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) stayed away from the contest in line with its tradition of supporting the family members of the deceased MLA.
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