A total of 1,500 security personnel, comprising both Andhra Pradesh Police as well as paramilitary forces, will be deployed for the smooth conduct of the April 17 Tirupati Lok Sabha bye-poll, an official told IANS on Thursday. Chittoor Superintendent of Police S Senthil Kumar on Thursday said these will include district policemen as well as four companies of paramilitary forces. SP Senthil Kumar said 274 polling booths will be set up at 187 polling locations, and of the latter, 87 have been identified as sensitive. He also said 33 route mobile parties, 11 special strike forces and six flying squads have also been arranged.
According to Senthil Kumar, 48 hours before the election day, no non-voter should stay in the area and all the hotels, lodges, halls and other such establishments have been told not to rent out their premises to outsiders. Police seized liquor and vehicles worth Rs 1.44 crore in their checks carried out at 25 inter-district as well as inter-state check posts. The police chief shared a Whatsapp number, 9440900005, for people to share polling day and vote counting time violations.
Chittoor District Collector M Hari Narayanan reportedly said that ward and village volunteers have been kept away from the poll process, as per Election Commission of India guidelines. Amid the recent rural and urban local body polls, opposition parties had alleged that the volunteers, who are responsible for last-mile delivery of welfare schemes, were influencing voters to vote for the ruling YSRCP.
The Tirupati Lok Sabha bye-election has seen a charged, polarised campaign, with opposition parties alleging that the YSRCP was neglecting Hindu temples and places of worship. While the ruling YSRCP has fielded M Gurumoorthy, the family physiotherapist for Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy and his family members, the BJP-Jana Sena alliance has fielded retired bureaucrat and former Karnataka Chief Secretary Ratna Prabha, and the TDP has fielded former Union Minister Panabaka Lakshmi.
With IANS inputs