KHAMMAM/KARIMNAGAR/MEDAK/ADILABAD/SANGAREDDY: Barring a few stray incidents, polling for the six vacant MLC seats in five Local Authorities’ Constituencies passed off peacefully, on Friday.
According to Khammam Collector and returning officer VP Gautham, the erstwhile district recorded a voting percentage of 96.09 with 738 out of the total 768 voters exercising their franchise. Those belonging to CPM and CPI(ML)-New Democracy parties did not turn up for the polling process though they had 31 and 11 votes respectively.
With a polling percentage of 99.70, erstwhile Karimnagar district also witnessed a fairly smooth electoral process. In the meantime, 1,018 of the total 1,026 voters in erstwhile Medak district also exercised their franchise. Returning officer and Adilabad Collector Sikta Patnaik said that the erstwhile district recorded a voter turnout of 91.78 per cent.
KCR, Eatala give polls a miss
Several major politicos, including Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao himself, gave casting the ballot a miss. Meanwhile, KCR’s absence has become a hot topic as he has never missed an MLC poll till now. Zaheerabad MLA Manik Rao also did not exercise his franchise.
Though BJP MLA and former minister Eatala Rajender was supposed to cast his vote, he couldn’t as the saffron party leader failed to enrol his name as an ex-officio member after taking oath as a legislator.
Tension in some areas
Tension prevailed in Khammam after Congress candidate Royala Nageswara Rao and followers staged a protest in front of the polling station alleging that TRS ZP chairman Lingala Kamal Raj tried to influence voters. Police swung into action and detained the protestors to avoid untoward incidents. They were released later.
Meanwhile, the members of Mancherial District Congress Committee boycotted the polling process as per directed by AICC member and former MLC K Premsagar Rao to avoid cross-voting since the party didn’t have any majority. Hence, no Congress ZPTCs, MPTCs or municipal councillors exercised their franchise. In the meantime, rumours were rife that the Congress members stayed away from the polling process in support of the TRS candidate. However, the followers of former Congress Nirmal MLA A Maheshwar Reddy cast their votes for an independent candidate.
Police and Pink netas face-off
The polling station set up at ZP complex in Karimnagar district also witnessed some ugly scenes when the police officials obstructed TRS elected representatives, including BC Welfare Minister Gangula Kamalakar and Manakondur MLA Rasamayi Balakishan, from exercising their franchise for wearing pink kanduvas.
The scene escalated when the Minister lost his cool and argued with the officials stating that there were no party symbols on the kanduvas.
Police also demanded that the politicos leave their mobile phones outside. In a bid to avoid further issues, they left their phones and kanduvas outside and only then entered the polling stations.
Opposition party leaders alleged that TRS voters violated Covid norms at many places by casting their votes without wearing masks.
‘Harish strategies ineffective’
Taking a jibe at Finance Minister T Harish Rao, Sangareddy Congress MLA T Jayaprakash Reddy alleged that the TRS strongman’s strategies were not working since T Nirmala Jayaprakash Reddy was contesting in the MLC elections from erstwhile Medak district.
Speaking to the media after voting at the TNGO Building in Sangareddy, Jagga pointed out that TRS netas didn’t care about MPTCs in erstwhile Medak before the polls. “Immediately after learning that Nirmala was in the fray, Harish rushed to the district and started taking care of the local representatives as if they are his own children. Doesn’t matter who wins this time, the moral victory will ultimately be the Congress’, as we didn’t resort to camp politics,” he added.