Only 47 per cent of eligible voters turned out to exercise their franchise in the Avanigadda Assembly constituency by-election on Wednesday. Former MLA Ambati Bhrahmanayya’s son Hariprasad is the TDP candidate, while two more independent candidates are also in the fray.

While the polling process passed off peacefully, a majority of the 1.87 lakh voters chose to give importance to agriculture work as kharif season operations are in full swing. Polling began at 8 a.m. but majority of the 241 polling centres witnessed no voter turnout for an hour or two.

In the six revenue mandals of Krishna district where polling took place, there was a large presence of security personnel with police personnel outnumbering the voters in many polling booths. In Avanigadda, people chose to stay indoors rather than come to the Government Junior and Degree College, where some of the polling stations were set up. “Despite poor turn out of voters at some of the polling centres, voting percentage improved by 5 p.m. Necessary security was deployed at the strong room on the premises of Government Junior College, Avanigadda,” said Krishna District Collector Buddha Prakash.

Keeping in view the ongoing protests over Samaikyandhra, the district administration has sought support from para military forces for the Avanigadda by-poll and they will stay here till the results are out, added Mr. Buddha Prakash.

The election commission authorities have scheduled the counting of votes for August 24. The election was conducted in 148 locations which were monitored by web-casting and video recording of the election process. There were no polling agents of the two independent candidates — Ravu Subrahmanyam and Sykam Rajasekhar — at most of the polling centres in Challapalli, Mopidevi, Koduru and Nagayalanka mandals.

According to election authorities, all the Electronic Voting Machines were functioning well without any technical issues. But a large number of web-casting systems did not function for hours due to poor internet connectivity.

When asked, women engaged in agriculture operations said that they would not come back from the field for voting.