An estimated 64.17% of the voters exercised their franchise in the byelection to the Atmakur Assembly seat on Thursday.
With the authorities putting in place tight three-tier security and safety measures to ward off Coronavirus, polling was by and large peaceful but for some sporadic incidents. The polling began on a modest note with only 11.56% of the 2.13 lakh voters turning up at the 279 polling stations, including 123 polling stations in the first two hours of polling.
The voting percentage steadily soared to 24.92% by 11 a.m., 44.14% by 1 p.m., 56.44% by 3 p.m. and 61.70% by 5 p.m., as people waited in long queues in several of the polling stations to vote, District Collector and District Election Officer K.V.N. Chakradhar Babu said while overseeing the conduct of the bypoll at a polling station at Karatampadu village along with Guntur range Deputy-Inspector General of Police C.M. Trivikram Varma and Superintendent of Police Ch. Vijaya Rao.
People who waited in queues at 6 p.m. were allowed to vote. The DIG said no major untoward incident had been reported from any of the polling stations.
Voters were allowed into the sanitised polling stations only after they were subjected to checking with thermal scanners by health workers. Polling was delayed in six polling stations in the morning before faulty EVMs were replaced.
The byelection was necessitated by the demise of Information and Technology Minister Mekapati Goutham Reddy.
YSRCP nominee Mekapatti Vikram Reddy, brother of late Goutham Reddy, along with his family members were among the early voters in the polling station at his native Brahmanapalli village.
Tension was palpable at some polling stations, including Apparaopalem, Krishnapuram and Padmatinaidupalle, as the activists YSR Congress Party the Bharatiya Janata Party were involved in a wordy duel.
BJP candidate G. Bharat Kumar Yadav urged the Election Commission to arrange for stepped up security for him and alleged that a polling agent Vishnuvardhan Reddy was allegedly kidnapped by a local YSRCP leader M Raja Reddy at a polling station in Krishnapuram village before he was freed.
The police had a tough time in preventing YCRCP activists who tried to gatecrash into a polling station even as supporters of an independent candidate objected to it at Apparaopalem.
Volunteers of the Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS) and police personnel helped elderly and differently-abled voters to vote in the bypoll by arranging wheelchairs for them.
While the YSR Congress Party left no stone unturned in a bid to score a hat-trick, the BJP, which has been nursing ambitions to emerge as an alternative to the ruling party in the State, saw the bypoll as a spring board to storm to power in 2024.
Twelve other candidates are also in the fray. The main opposition Telugu Desam party has kept away from the byelection in keeping with a convention set in the past to facilitate a facile win for member of a family member of deceased MLA in the bypoll.
Crime Today News | Andhra Pradesh