Elaborate arrangements are in place as the stage is set for the elections to the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) on Tuesday. Over 74 lakh voters will decide the political fortunes of 1,122 candidates in 150 divisions in one of the most bitterly-fought polls for any municipal body in recent times. The polling will commence at 7 a.m. and conclude at 6 p.m. at 9,101 polling stations.
State Election Commissioner C Parthasarthy said all arrangements have been made for smooth and peaceful conduct of the elections, duly following COVID-19 regulations. A total of 74,67,256 people are eligible to cast their votes. The electorate constitutes 38,89,637 men, 35,76,941 women and 678 others. The election authorities are conducting the polls through postal ballots instead of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).
Voters, who have been issued an Elector's Photo Identity Card (EPIC), will have to produce it to exercise their franchise when they arrive at the polling station for voting. Those, who are unable to produce their EPICs, will have to produce any one of the 18 alternative photo identity card documents to establish their identity. Photo voter slips will not be considered as an alternate identification document. Voter slips were distributed to all the electors by the booth-level officers. Those who have not received their voter slips can download the same through GHMC app tsec.gov.in/ghmc.gov.in.
Wearing a face mask is mandatory for voters coming to polling stations. Authorities have made it clear that those not wearing masks will not be allowed into the polling station. The GHMC has deployed 36,404 personnel for the polling duty. The personnel on Monday collected ballot boxes and other poll material from 30 distribution centres. They were also provided masks, sanitisers and tissues.
Sanitisation of all polling stations was done on Monday. This will be done again before the commencement of the poll process. A sanitiser is being provided at the entry and exit point of every polling station.Officials said social distancing will be ensured while allowing voters to queue up at polling stations.
Director General of Police M Mahender Reddy said over 50,000 police personnel were deployed to ensure polling is peaceful and takes place in a free and fair manner. Police Commissioners of Hyderabad, Cyberabad and Rachakonda said tight security arrangements were made at the polling stations and other points. Cyberabad Police Commissioner VC Sajjanar said 13,500 police personnel were deployed in 38 divisions falling under 19 police stations of Cyberabad police.
Sajjanar said around 20.5 lakh voters were expected to exercise their franchise in 2,569 polling stations covering 674 polling locations in Cyberabad. The high-octane campaign for the civic body came to an end on Sunday. The campaign saw leaders of major parties making bitter attacks on each other.
Ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) is looking to retain power in the municipal body while upbeat over its victory in Dubbak Assembly bye-election, the BJP is making a determined bid to wrest power.
The elections are being fought without any alliance among the parties. The Congress and the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) are also contesting the polls on their own.
While TRS, BJP and Congress are contesting all the seats, AIMIM has fielded candidates in 51 divisions. The TRS had won 99 seats in the 2016 elections while AIMIM had finished second with 44 seats. The BJP could win only four seats then.