Around 64% polling was recorded in the bye-election to the Atmakur Assembly seat in Andhra Pradesh on Thursday, June 23. Chief Electoral Officer MK Meena said the polling was peaceful and no untoward incident was reported from anywhere. The polling, which began at 7 am, continued till 6 pm. However, those standing in queues at 6 pm were allowed to cast their votes. At 6 pm, 64.17% polling was recorded. The voter turnout figure is likely to go up after receipt of final reports from all polling stations. MK Meena said it was likely to reach 69% to 70%. The turnout is considerably lower than in the 2019 Assembly elections, which reportedly saw 82.44% polling.
Polling began at all 279 polling stations in the constituency in Nellore district at 7 am 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. An official said 377 Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) were installed at the polling 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 bye-election was necessitated by the death of former Industries Minister and sitting MLA Mekapati Goutham Reddy in February this year. The ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) has fielded Goutham Reddy's brother Mekapati 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 the Nellore district BJP unit.
The main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) has not fielded the candidate, citing its tradition of not contesting a bye-election where a family member of a deceased sitting legislator is seeking the public mandate. The Pawan Kalyan-led Jana Sena Party (JSP), an ally of the BJP, also stayed away from the bye-poll. The BJP contested the bye-poll in tune with its stand not to encourage politics of inheritance by leaving elections uncontested when an incumbent passes away.