Hyderabad

Low voter turnout in Hyderabad civic polls

A low voter turnout was recorded in the high-stakes Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation elections on Tuesday with 35.80% of voters exercising their franchise till 5 p.m., as the BJP slammed the ruling TRS for the low-polling percentage.

The polling, which began at 7 a.m. and concluded at 6 p.m., went off peacefully without any major incident, a police official said.

The final poll percentage would be released after compilation and as per the procedures, official sources said.

The Telangana State Election Commission (SEC) ordered repoll in all 69 polling stations of ward number 26 after it was found that the symbol of the CPI(M) was printed in the ballot paper instead of CPI, an official release said.

The repoll would be held on December 3 from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. in all the 69 polling stations.

The CPI complained to the election authorities on the matter.

In view of the repoll, publication, broadcasting and telecasting of exit polls on the GHMC elections is banned till 6 PM on December 3, the SEC said.

Union Minister of State for Home G. Kishan Reddy, TRS working president and state Municipal Administration Minister K.T. Rama Rao, AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi and actor-turned- politician Chiranjeevi were among prominent personalities who voted.

As many as 74.44 lakh voters were supposed to exercise their franchise.

The number of contesting candidates is 1,122 and the main contestants are the TRS, Opposition BJP and the Congress.

The State Election Commission also made special arrangements in view of the COVID-19. It enabled the COVID-19 patients to either vote at polling stations physically or to use postal ballot.

In case the COVID-10 patients have not used postal ballots, the poll panel allowed them to cast their vote during the last hour - from 5 PM to 6 PM.However, the COVID-19- positive voters should wear mask, face shield and hand gloves, it said.

Sharply criticising the ruling TRS, union minister and BJP leader G Kishan Reddy alleged that the TRS government should “bow its head in shame” for the low percentage of voting.

The TRS used the State Election Commission for its .

“selfish politics” and indulged in misuse of power, he alleged.

Observing that there was time till February to conduct the polls, Reddy said the election could have been conducted by trying to promote people’s awareness, making effective arrangements for polls and giving adequate time to the government personnel.

The state government and the SEC knew the number of polling booths would increase as per COVID-19 guidelines and that the voters would be divided among varios polling booths, but the government decided in a hurry to conduct polls due to fear of losing, he claimed.

Though the state government knew that there are holidays in a row preceding the polling day, it still chose to conduct the election as it sought to reduce the polling percentage, he alleged.

The civic body poll saw a high-octane campaign with several top BJP leaders, including Union Home Minister Amit Shah, party chief J P Nadda, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Union Ministers Prakash Javadekar, Smriti Irani, party MP and BJYM national president Tejaswi Surya participating in it.

The TRS campaign was led by its working president and state Municipal Administration Minister K T Rama Rao, while party president and Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao addressed a public meeting.

During the campaign, state BJP president and MP Bandi Sanjay Kumar found himself in a row following his remarks that his party would be ready, if necessary, to conduct a “surgical strike” in the old city to send away Rohingyas and Pakistanis.

AIMIM’s Akbaruddin Owaisi came under attack from his opponents for his reported comments whether the “samadhis” of former Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao and TDP founder N T Rama Rao, built on the Hussain Sagar lake bank, would be removed as he questioned the eviction drive against “poor people” residing near water bodies.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2021 3:42:40 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/low-voter-turnout-in-hyderabad-civic-polls/article33224712.ece

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