Quarter of electorate votes in Hyderabad polls till noon

Hyderabad: Nearly a quarter of the 74.23 lakh electorate cast their votes on Tuesday in the elections for Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), officials said.

About 22 percent of the voters had exercised their franchise till noon, said officials of the Telangana state election commission. Polling began at 7 a.m. at 7,802 polling stations spread across the city and will continue till 5 p.m.

A total of 7,423,980 voters, including 3,453,910 women, will decide the political fortunes of 1,333 candidates, who are in fray in 150 divisions.

Officials said the polling was progressing peacefully barring minor incidents in few places.

Voters in some divisions complained that their names were missing from the voters’ list.

With the deployment of over 30,000 security personnel, election authorities have made elaborate arrangements to ensure peaceful polling.

As many as 46,545 personnel have been deployed for the election duty.

The state election commission is webcasting polling at 3,200 sensitive polling stations. The officials of the commission and police were monitoring the balloting process.

The state government has declared a holiday for all offices, educational institutions, shops and business establishments. Half-day holiday has also been declared for IT/ITES companies.

Polling began on a dull note but the GHMC officials hope that the turnout will pick up as the day progresses.

E. S. L. Narasimhan, who is governor of both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, and his wife Vimla Narasimhan cast their votes at a polling booth in Khairatabad.

Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya along with his family members cast their votes in Ramnagar.

Telangana’s Information Technology Minister K. Tarakarama Rao, who led the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi’s campaign, cast his vote in Banjara Hills. Deputy Chief Minister Mehmood Ali, Home minister N. Narasimha Reddy, Commercial Taxes Minister T. Srinivas Yadav, TRS general secretary K. Keshava Rao were among key leaders of the ruling party who cast their votes.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and Telugu Desam Party president N. Chandrababu Naidu’s wife Bhuaneswari, son Lokesh, daughter Brahmini cast their votes in Jubliee Hills. Naidu’s brother-in-law and popular Telugu actor Balakrishna also exercised franchise.

Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) president and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi, his brother and party legislator Akbaruddin Owaisi also exercised their franchise.

This is the first GHMC election after formation of Telangana state and the second after Greater Hyderabad was created in 2007 with the merger of eight municipalities and 12 villages of neighbouring districts with Hyderabad. This had made Greater Hyderabad the second biggest urban agglomerate in the country after New Delhi in terms of area (621.48 sq. km).

TRS, which did not contest first GHMC elections in 2009, is making a determined bid to capture power in the state capital. TRS president and Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao has already indicated that it will have a post-poll alliance with MIM to get the posts of mayor and deputy mayor.

MIM, a key player in city politics, had shared power with the Congress party in the previous municipal body.

This time Congress, the main opposition party, is contesting the elections on its own.

TDP-BJP alliance is confident of giving tough fight to TRS by mainly banking on the voters from Andhra Pradesh settled here. They are estimated to be about 40 percent of the total electorate.

TRS, which had bagged only two of the 24 assembly seats in GHMC limits in 2014 elections, has also reached out to voters from Andhra Pradesh.