Staff Reporter

BJP going it alone for the first time; 290 voting machines to be deployed

VISAKHAPATNAM: Electronic voting machines and all other arrangements have been put in place for the Visakha-I by-polls on Sunday.

Joint Collector Sandeep Kumar Sultania said 290 electronic voting machines would be deployed in 130 polling booths to be manned by 680 polling personnel. Prohibitory orders under Section 144 have been clamped.

Main contenders

The fate of main contenders -- Dronamraju Srinivas Rao (Congress), S.A. Rehaman (TDP) and Kasi Viswanatha Raju -- will be decided in the 14-cornered contest. The by-election was caused by the death of Srinivasa Rao's father Dronamraju Satyanarayana.

BJP factor

The polls assumed importance as the BJP is contesting independently for an Assembly seat for the first time after it severed its relationship with the Telugu Desam Party.

Bharatiya Janata Party State president N. Indrasena Reddy said they were in the fray to test their strength.

Bharatiya Janata Party's K. Haribabu had won the seat in alliance with the Telugu Desam Party in the 1999 elections.