Polling in the ZPTC and MPTC elections in the Visakha Agency, a critical area where Maoists have strong pockets of influence, passed off peacefully on Friday, except for an incident in which a person snatched away ballot boxes at Busiputtu in Munchingput mandal.
Superintendent of Police Vikram Jeet Duggal said Girijans ignored the call to boycott elections and threat to their lives from the CPI (Maoist) and participated in large numbers in exercising their democratic right.
He thanked the Girijans and their leaders, and the police personnel for their dedication in making the polling process a success. “The polling percentage in the second phase will be around 75,” he said.
Smooth polling in 328 polling stations having 470 polling booths was possible due to the pucca plan executed by the police, Mr. Duggal said.
The Girijans indicated their desire to ensure development of the region by participating in the polling in large numbers, and the SP wanted them to maintain the same spirit and make the general elections in May too a success.
Talking to The Hindu, Mr. Duggal said minor clashes between workers of various parties, strictly over issues pertaining to the elections, which were reported from some places indicate that the Girijans were keen on exercising their franchise.
On the Busiputtu incident, Mr. Duggal said two men, both unarmed and in normal attire, came to the polling station at around 1 p.m., and of them went inside and took away the ballot boxes.
The polling staff thought that the Maoists attacked the polling station. This was the information gathered by Sub-Inspector of Munchingput from the Presiding Officer of the polling booth at Munchingput.
Mr. Duggal said that the two persons could be members of the local militia since there was no possibility of the Maoists moving around in groups as heavy security arrangement was in place all over the Agency. No pamphlets or banners were left behind.
On the report of around 500 villagers of Kumkumpudi, Agraharam, Rajulagedda, Pedapadu, Lakkavaram, and Thotamamidi in Chintapalli and G.K. Veedhi mandals staying away from the polling, Mr. Duggal said it could be due to some local and political issues.