Around 50 per cent of over 2.81 crore voters across 10 districts of Telangana exercised their franchise by 1 p.m. on Wednesday in the first phase of polling in Andhra Pradesh.
Chief Electoral Officer Bhanwar Lal told reporters that polling was by and large peaceful. He said at some places polling was delayed after the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) did not work. However, they were replaced within 30 to 40 minutes and polling commenced. He said that 2,000 extra EVMs were deployed in each district.
He said that Nizamabad district reported the highest polling of 57.21 per cent till 1 p.m., while the lowest of 32.52 per cent was in Hyderabad. The polling percentage in other districts was as follows — Adilabad (52.31), Karimnagar (46.3) Medak (53.26), Ranga Reddy (33.66), Mahabubnagar (51.09), Nalgonda (49) Warangal (56.18) and Khammam (53.13).
He said the Nalgonda district collector had reported that a car carrying cash was found abandoned near Suryapet. Due to a short-circuit the car caught fire and some of the cash was burnt. There were allegations that cash to the tune of Rs. 2-4 crore was being carried in the car. Two drivers of the abandoned car were absconding and the police were trying to nab them. He refused to confirm when asked about reports that the car belonged to Congress leader Uttam Kumar Reddy and said the police were investigating.
Around 1,000 villagers of Bayyaram hamlet and 2 villages of Wyra Assembly Constituency boycotted polling in protest against lack of basic amenities.
Top political leaders including TDP president N.Chandrababu Naidu, TRS leader, K.Chandrasekhar Rao, Union minister K. Chiranjeevi and Telangana BJP president G. Kishan Reddy were among those who cast their votes.
Mr. Chiranjeevi and his family members had to face the wrath of voters after they apparently tried to bypass the queue. He, however, denied that they were jumping the queue and said that he went inside the booth to find out if the names of his family members were there in the electoral rolls.
Police resorted to lathi-charge at Yakupura in Old City of Hyderabad after the voters behaved in an unruly manner. The city virtually came to a standstill and all the roads were deserted, while cinema halls, restaurants and hotels remained closed. Polling began on a brisk note in the morning and steadied in the later part of the day.