HYDERABAD: Time’s up. The hollering over loudspeakers, sloganeering on street corners and rallying bang in the middle of the road is all over as the deadline for poll campaigning ended on Wednesday. Now all that is left is for the netas to take the test.
It was a festive finale with TRS supremo K Chandrasekhar Rao ending his campaign with a rally in Gajwel and his son KT Rama Rao doing the same in Vemulawada while Congress president Rahul Gandhi and TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu made the final pitch at Kodad in Suryapet.
Overall, it was a star-studded campaign season. While BJP roped in Prime Minister Narendra Modi, party president Amit Shah and a battery of Union Ministers, Congress put up an equally good fight with former party president Sonia Gandhi making a rare appearance for an election rally in the State. TRS, meanwhile, relied strongly on the oratory skills of the ‘first family’ with KCR covering almost all segments over the last few days, addressing about 6-8 meetings in a day.
The central plank of the TRS campaign was to portray the People’s Front as “outsiders greedy for power” in Telangana. In the People’s Front, while Congress rallied against the “corrupt TRS government”, Chandrababu Naidu took a softer approach by harping on his contributions towards the development of Hyderabad. BJP political pitch was a mixture of proposals for development of the State and attacks against TRS for proposing separate quota for Muslims.
Now that the pitches have been made, the Chief Electoral Officer has taken over to ensure polls are conducted in free and fair manner. CEO Rajat Kumar has swung into action and issued warnings against any further campaigning or advertising. District electoral officers have reported that the distribution of voter slips is complete in most constituencies.
Remaining slips were to be distributed by the end of Wednesday. Police have been instructed to maintain a strict vigil to ensure that voters are not bribed. Polling will happen on Friday between 7 am and 5 pm.