Poor voter turnout marked the GHMC election in the old city on Monday. The Majlis-dominated areas, which are known for heavy polling, presented a dull picture. However, incidents of arguments and skirmishes between Majlis and TDP, MBT and BJP workers were reported from several areas.
Majlis president and MP Asaduddin Owaisi was seen going around various divisions pillion riding a bike. There was mild tension in Chanchalguda area of Azampura division when his presence was objected to by the MBT candidate, Amjadullah Khan. The latter charged the Majlis leader of bringing women in vehicles to rig the poll. Mr. Asaduddin dismissed the allegation as false and said nothing of that sort took place. The Majlis-MBT workers also clashed at two other places in the division following arguments between MBT’s Farhatullah Khan and Malakpet MLA Ahmed Balala.
Later in the day, the car of Mohsin Balala, Majlis candidate of Patharghatti division, suffered damage when it was allegedly attacked by TDP workers at Panjeshaw half an hour before polling ended. The latter is the younger brother of the Malakpet MLA. Following this incident, the two groups indulged in stone pelting.
There was also some tension at a booth in Mailardevepally of Shivarampally division when Mr. Asaduddin insisted on removal of a polling agent Jawwad, accusing him of being a rowdy-sheeter. The Majlis leader accused the Rajendernagar police of acting in an unfair manner against the Majlis, particularly in Attapur and Shivarampally divisions.
“The voter turnout was low. But we are hopeful of getting the desired result,” he said. At Kabutarkhana in Purnapul division, workers of MIM and BJP came to near blows when the latter accused the Majlis of indulging in bogus voting. The BJP workers later staged a dharna before the Husaini Alam police station demanding action against Raj Mohan, husband of Majlis candidate, Srilata. However, GHMC commissioner S.P. Singh termed it as a problem between the relative of a candidate and a polling agent. A police complaint was registered, he said.
There were some anxious moments at a booth in Khilwat of Husaini Alam division when the Majlis workers objected to the presence of Ali Masqati, son of TDP MLC, Ibrahim Bin Abdullah Masqati.
“We drove him away as he was challenging voters when he himself was an outsider,” said Majlis candidate, Mir Zulfekhar Ali.
Unlike the Assembly elections six months ago, there was no palpable tension in the old city this time. It was a relaxed atmosphere throughout the day with police seen only around the polling booths. At Shahalibanda, a biryani hotel did brisk business. However, at some places barbed wire fencing was put up.
Long queue of voters, a regular feature during polls, was missing this time. Polling started on a dull note and picked up only in the afternoon. There were not many complaints of names missing from voters list. Complaints of EVM failure were also fewer this time.