Andhra Pradesh

Atmakur byelection: All set for counting of votes on Sunday

Security personnel guard the electronic voting machines on the eve of counting of votes in the byelection for the Atmakur Assembly segment in SPSR Nellore district on Saturday.

Security personnel guard the electronic voting machines on the eve of counting of votes in the byelection for the Atmakur Assembly segment in SPSR Nellore district on Saturday. | Photo Credit: BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

The stage is set for counting of votes polled in the June 23 byelection to the Atmakur Assembly seat amid tight security in SPSR Nellore district on Sunday.

District Collector and District Election Officer K.V.N. Chakradhar Babu and Superintendent of Police Ch. Vijaya Rao oversaw the arrangements made in adherence to the COVID-19 safety norms for the counting of votes. The byelection was necessitated by the demise of Information Technology Minister Mekapatti Goutham Reddy.

As many as 14 tables have been arranged at Andhra Engineering College for counting of votes in 20 rounds starting with postal ballots from 8 a.m., according to SPSR Joint Collector and Returning Officer M.N. Harendhira Prasad. Three-layer security has been put in place with the Central paramilitary forces guarding the stored electronic voting machines at the college at Atmakur.

Lower turnout

The polling percentage dipped by 18.18% in the byelection as only 64.26% of the 2.13 lakh voted when compared to 82.44% earlier.

The ruling YSR Congress Party fielded Mekapati Vikram Reddy, the brother of the deceased Minister in the bypoll while the Bharatiya Janata Party chose its district unit president G. Bharat Kumar Yadav. Twelve other candidates are also in the fray. The Telugu Desam Party has kept away from the bypoll as per a convention not to contest against the family member of a deceased sitting MLA.

Mr. Goutham Reddy had won the seat by a margin of over 22,000 votes in 2019 and more than 31,000 votes in 2014.

The fall in polling percentage seemed to have put paid to the hopes of the YSRCP to bag the seat by a margin of one lakh plus votes. ''The ruling party is sure to score a hat-trick by retaining the seat,'' YSRCP regional coordinator and former Minister Balineni Srinivasa Reddy said. The party would bag the seat by at least 70,000 margin, he asserted.

The stakes are high for the BJP, which is aiming to emerge as an alternative to the YSRCP in the State by 2024, in the byelection as it had tasted successive defeats in the bypolls held earlier for the Tirupati Lok Sabha constituency and the Budvel Assembly constituency.


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Printable version | Aug 15, 2022 11:54:33 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/atmakur-byelection-all-set-for-counting-of-votes/article65564734.ece