Special Correspondent

Counting begins four hours behind schedule

  • Counting of votes begins four hours behind schedule
  • Delayed response from Election Commission on complaint by TDP

    HYDERABAD: It was a six-hour long wait for the candidates amid tension and a little drama before the results of the Legislative Council were declared in the wee hours of Friday.

    The counting began four hours behind schedule as Returning Officer Tuljanand Singh did not get a prompt response from the Election Commission on the complaint by the Telugu Desam against the issuance of a second ballot paper to Congress MLA Chitturi Bapineedu.

    Before the votes could be counted, Congress MLAs insisted with the Returning Officer that the vote of Mr. Bapineedu should also be counted. Rejecting their plea, the Returning Officer kept the Mr. Bapineedu's ballot papers in a sealed cover at the instance of the Commission.

    Nine candidates who polled 10 or more votes were declared elected immediately after the first count. This included four Congress, one each from the CPI, CPI (M), MIM, TRS and an independent Kasani Gyaneshwar. TRS candidate H. A. Rahman secured highest number of 14 votes followed by Mr. Gyaneshwar with 12.

    Third count

    In the nerve-wracking contest that followed, three Congress nominees won after the third count followed by two more Congress candidates and Puvvada Nageswara Rao (CPI) in the fourth count. Fifth and six count ensured the victory of six more Congress candidates. But tension was in air when a vote that should have come in favour of Padmaraju Rudraraju (Congress) was declared invalid.

    Once it became clear that the TRS candidate M. Sudarshan Rao was in trouble having polled just three first preference votes, things took a surprising turn. One TRS MLA had marked his first preference for Mr. Gyaneshwar and second for Mr. Rao. This compounded Mr. Rao's woes. At this stage, he was eliminated paving way for election of all the five TDP candidates along with Congress nominee Palvai Goverdhan Reddy. Surprisingly, the fifth TDP candidate P. Yadagiri, who was perceived as the likely loser bagged 8.32 votes against eight polled by his party colleague Bommidi Narayana Rao, indicating that a TDP MLA had cross-voted.