Covid scare hits polling percentage

Elections to seven ULBs pass off peacefully; GWMC records 54.74 per cent voter turnout

Published: 01st May 2021 08:38 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st May 2021 08:38 AM   |  A+A-

Voters stand in line at a polling station in Hanmakonda to to exercise their franchise

By Express News Service

HYDERABAD: Barring stray incidents, polling to Greater Warangal and Khammam Municipal Corporations, and five municipalities — Siddipet, Jadcherla, Kothur, Atchampet and Nakrekal — and casual elections for one ward in Nalgonda, Parkal, Bodhan, Gajwel and Lingojiguda, passed off peacefully on Friday.Many voters in these ULBs stayed away from the polling, owing to pandemic scare, as a result of which the polling percentage went down this time. While GWMC recorded 54.74 per cent voter turnout, Khammam recorded 59.80 per cent, Siddipet 67.18 per cent, Atchampet 68 per cent, Jadcherla 66.67 per cent, Kothur 85.42 per cent and Nakrekal 86.65 per cent.

Polling began at 7 am as per the schedule. The officials had made arrangements to ensure strict adherence to Covid-19 protocol, such as wearing masks and maintaining physical distancing. Sanitisers were made available at the entrance of all polling stations.

In Khammam, the TRS and Congress party activists and contesting candidates clashed at a few places. In Division-34, both TRS and Congress party activists got  into a heated argument over campaigning in a polling booth, which escalated quickly and ended in a clash. In Division-55, there was a fallout between TRS candidate P Veerender and Congress candidate M Sudhakar over campaigning inside polling centre.

oters queue up at a polling station in Division-31 in KMC limits, without giving two hoots about social distancing norms 

In Division-57, Congress party candidate Rafat Begum and her husband Mustafa obstructed TRS followers for allegedly casting bogus votes, after which the workers of both parties entered into a heated argument. Meanwhile, Mustafa staged a dharna in front of the polling station demanding that the authorities allow their candidate sit inside the booth. Police swung into action, arrested Mustafa and shifted him to Two Town police station.

In the meantime, hundreds of Congress party activists gathered in the area and staged a protest against the arrest of Mustafa. The police had to resort to lathicharge to disperse them.In GWMC limits, the supporters of the TRS candidate and an Independent candidate clashed in Division-11. The two groups pelted stones at each other near the Islamic College in Warangal. The clash broke out when the two groups were distributing voter slips to denizens. The police took a few members from each group into custody.

In light of the pandemic situation, the officials had made all necessary arrangements as per the directions of the High Court and State Election Commission (TSEC) during the polling.Voters lined up at their respective polling booths since morning itself, Of the 247 wards spread across seven ULBs, a TRS candidate was unanimously elected in Division-10 in KMC. As many as 1,307 candidates, including 480 Independents, were in the fray.The authorities had set up 1,539 polling stations.Wearing face masks was compulsory to cast votes. The authorities had also made arrangements to ensure physical distancing in the queues outside polling stations.

A government school teacher died of heart attack while performing election duties as a polling official in the GWMC elections on Friday.  The deceased has been identified as Methuku Ramesh Babu, a resident of Teachers Colony in Hanamkonda. Ramesh Babu, who was working as a teacher in Kondapur Primary School in Chilpur mandal, was deployed at a polling station at 57th division of Samaiah Nagar in Hanamkonda. Ramesh collected polling material from the Art and Science College on Thursday and went for election duty. During the election, he suffered heart attack.


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