Violent incidents mar polling at a few places in Andhra Pradesh

YSRC, TDP workers clash in Palnadu, Chittoor, NTR and Krishna districts, security beefed up in sensitive areas
 CRPF personnel took people, who reportedly attempted to cast bogus votes, into custody at Doddapuram in Tirupati
CRPF personnel took people, who reportedly attempted to cast bogus votes, into custody at Doddapuram in Tirupati Photo | Express

VIJAYAWADA: Scattered incidents of violence were reported across the State on Monday as polling to elect legislators for 175 Assembly seats and 25 members of the Lok Sabha took place.YSRC and TDP workers were involved in clashes, verbal duels and attacks with deadly weapons in a few parts of the State.

At several polling stations, the voting process had to be halted due to the disruption caused by the clashes. Police, deployed in large numbers, swung into action and brought the situation under control.

Polling began on a smooth note at 7 am. In the afternoon, supporters of both TDP and YSRC began accusing each other of instigating violence at multiple locations throughout the State. The election-related clashes were most intense in Palnadu, NTR, Krishna and Guntur districts.

Cadres of the political parties suffered injuries in Pithapuram, Nellore, Anantapur, Tirupathi, Srikakulam, Annamaya, Kadapa, Kurnool districts as they attacked each other with stones and sickles, and vandalised cars and electronic voting machines (EVMs).

According to sources, more than 20 persons were injured in the violence that erupted in around 12 places in faction-ridden Palnadu district. Some of these regions include: Macherla, Cheemalamarri, Tangeda, Narasaraopet and Dachepalli.

Despite the Election Commission of India (ECI) taking elaborate security measures, multiple instances of violence and disruptions were reported.

The atmosphere was particularly tense in Narasaraopet, where a number of TDP cadres attacked YSRC candidate Dr Gopireddy Srinivasa Reddy at his residence after clashes between supporters of the TDP and ruling YSRC raged.

Miscreants damaged EVMs at Pullampet
Miscreants damaged EVMs at Pullampet Photo | Express

TDP leaders destroyed several cars on their way to his home after they were stopped from entering a polling centre by YSRC agents, resulting in violence. In a fit of rage, they carried out a protest against him and vandalised his car and other vehicles by pelting stones.

Though police officials tried to stop them, the mob became very aggressive and even attacked the police by pelting stones at them. As the situation went out of control with people running helter-skelter for safety, police fired rubber bullets first and then opened fire to disperse the mob. After one hour, the situation improved. Armed forces were posted at all problematic locations to prevent further break down of law and order.

In Tangeda village of Dachepalli mandal under Gurazala constituency, unidentified miscreants hurled molotov cocktails at shops and thatched houses around 6 pm following a clash at a nearby polling station. Though no one got injured, this triggered a panic in the village. However, the police confirmed that no petrol bomb was set off, but a dilapidated thatched house in the village was set on fire by some miscreants to express their angst at the police and their rival political party.

On learning about the incident, Guntur range IG Ch Srikanth, Palnadu SP Bindu Madhav, Macherla constituency Returning Officer and district joint collector A Shyam Prasad rushed to the spot and inspected the situation. The officials immediately set up other EVMs and restarted the polling process within a few hours.

TDP leaders were attacked in Rentala by YSRC cadres even before polling commenced in the morning, when both groups came across each other.

Macherla TDP candidate Julakanti Brahmanandaiah’s car was set on fire. In another incident, Macherla YSRC candidate Pinnelli Ramakrishna Reddy was attacked by TDP members and clashes broke out between two groups. Additionally, clashes were reported in Guntur, Ponnur, Tadikonda, and Nizampatnam in Bapatla district.

In Veldurthi, Sattenapalli, Muppalla, Thondepi, Madala, Dammalapadu, Loyapalli, Mokkapadu and Acchampeta incidents of attacks were reported outside polling stations.

YSRC cadre allegedly also ransacked the vehicles of Narasaraopet TDP MP candidate Lavu Sri Krishna Devarayulu in Dondaparru village.

In Krishna district, supporters of Gannavaram Assembly candidates clashed in Mustabada village with slippers and stones. Similarly, in Penamaluru TDP contender Bode Prasad and his supporters created a flutter when they were prevented from entering a polling station. In Mandi Krishnapuram village in Chittoor district, a YSRC polling agent was allegedly stabbed by a TDP supporter in broad daylight. In Annamaya district, YSRC and TDP leaders attacked one another and damaged their vehicles in a fit of rage. Also, TDP polling booth agent Subash in Papakkagaripalle lost his eye in the clash with YSRC leaders.

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