67 candidates in fray, results on March 21
Unprecedented arrangements have been made for the polling on Sunday as part of the by-election to seven Assembly constituencies, with the deployment of 10,000 uniformed men and an equal number of polling personnel, considered very high for this number of constituencies.
There will be five policemen and five polling personnel at each of the 1,660 polling stations where voting will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Those waiting in the queue at 5 p.m. will, however, be allowed to cast votes till 10 p.m.
13.82 lakh voters
Over 13.82 lakh voters will exercise their franchise, deciding the fate of 67 candidates in the fray, representing various political parties, including Telangana Rashtra Samithi, Congress, Telugu Desam, BJP and YSR Congress.
Counting of votes for these seven constituencies – Mahabubnagar, Kollapur, Nagarkurnool, Adilabad, Kamareddi, Station Ghanpur and Kovur will begin at 8 a.m. on March 21 and the results announced a few hours later.
A day before the polling on Saturday, officials again seized Rs.27 lakh cash and confiscated 4,000 litres of liquor in Kovur constituency where they stumbled upon Rs.one crore cash only two days ago. Similarly, Rs.3 lakh cash was seized in Station Ghanpur.
The cash seized so far in all the constituencies reached Rs.10 crore which again is seen as very high for a by-election like this. The cash seized for the entire 293 Assembly and 42 Lok Sabha constituencies during 2009 elections totalled Rs.38 crore.
Tension prevailed at the residence of Nagam Janardhan Reddy, Independent candidate in Nagarkurnool, after five policemen clad in civilian clothes entered his house and moved around in the rooms. Party workers caught and confined them in rooms. A posse of policemen who arrived later, broke open the doors of the rooms under the impression that their colleagues were beaten up.
Chief Electoral Officer Bhanwar Lal warned candidates against using more than three vehicles during the polling.
There was no bar on plying of RTC buses, autos and two-wheelers up to the prescribed limits at the polling stations. He also warned of serious action if anyone carried mobile phones and cameras into the booths.
The 65,000 voters who were absent at their dwellings when officers distributed voters' slips, could obtain them at the booth.
As a measure of extra precaution, all polling stations will be covered through webcasting so that senior officials can view the proceedings in any booth.
About 400 electronic voting machines were kept as standby.