The state of Telangana which went to the polls on Friday saw a voter turnout of 67% as of 5 pm as the polling ended on a peaceful note, barring minor incidents. Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Rajat Kumar said that the turnout was expected to increase another one or two percent.
Polling ended in 106 constituencies at 5 pm but those standing in queues were allowed to cast their votes. Umesh Sinha from the Election Commission said that in 2014, the voter turnout recorded was 69.5%.
The exact poll percentage will be known after receipt of detailed reports from the districts, officials said in Hyderabad.
Earlier in the day, the Election Commission said that according to the information it received, 56.17% of over 2.8 crore voters across the state had cast their votes by 3 pm. Polling came to an end in 13 left wing extremism affected constituencies at 4 pm, while in the remaining 106 segments, polling concluded at 5 pm.
The 13 constituencies where polling ended early are Sirpur, Chennur, Bellampally, Mancherial, Asifabad, Manthani, Bhupalpalle, Mulugu, Pinapaka, Yellandu, Kothagudem, Aswaraopeta and Bhadrachalam.
Faulty EVMs and missing voters
Chief Electoral Officer Rajat Kumar said that barring sporadic incidents, polling was peaceful and smooth in all 32,815 polling stations spread across 31 districts. In some polling centres, the process started late due to technical glitches in Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).
This included the polling booth at AV college in Hyderabad, MPCP School in Yapral in Malkajgiri district, one polling booth in Banjara Hills, and Lal Bahadur school in Nimboliadda.
Voters at several places complained that their names were missing from the voter list. Some voters staged a protest over officials not allowing them to cast their votes in the absence of voter slips.
Prominent names that were missing from voter list include the family members of Finance Minister Etela Rajender and badminton player Jwala Gutta.
Asked about the names missing from electoral rolls, Rajat Kumar told reporters, "It is a problem and it has to be addressed. We are going to take up another special summary revision before January 1 for the Parliamentary elections. I apologize for the mistake but there is nothing we can do. We will look at what went wrong and solve it."
300 people protested at the electoral office in Kamareddy district, alleging that their data had been erased from electoral rolls. At one point in time, they sat on the road, holding up their voter ID cards in protest.
Politicians, celebrities vote
Many celebrities including actors Chiranjeevi, Nagarjuna and Junior NTR, tennis star Sania Mirza and ace shuttler P V Sindhu cast their votes.
Chief Minister and Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) President K Chandrasekhar Rao cast his vote in his village in Siddipet district and exuded confidence that his party will retain power with a huge majority. Governor E S L Narasimhan and his wife exercised their franchise near Raj Bhavan in Hyderabad.
Congress Telangana unit chief Uttam Kumar Reddy voted in Kodad constituency. BJP's state unit chief K Laxman and AIMIM President Asaduddin Owaisi did so in Hyderabad.
Over 50,000 security personnel, including 18,860 from neighbouring states and central forces, were deployed as part of the security arrangements. Over 1.50 lakh polling personnel were on duty to conduct the polling process. As many as 55,329 EVMs and 39,763 control units were in use.
For the first time, 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 are a contest between the ruling TRS, which is contesting all seats on its own, and the Congress-led People's Front that includes Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Communist Party of India and Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS).
The BJP is the third key force in some constituencies. The Bahujan Left Front led by the Communist Party of India-Marxist and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) are also contesting majority of the seats.
The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) is contesting eight seats in Hyderabad. The TRS opted for dissolution of the Assembly in September, eight months before its term was to end.
With IANS inputs