Telangana

Record turnout of 88% for Sagar bypoll

People waiting for their turn to cast their votes in Haliya town of Nalgonda district on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: Nagara Gopal

Amid COVID surge, a record voter turnout of approximately 88% was recorded for the Nagarjunasagar Assembly bypoll on Saturday. The voter turnout of about 88%, as declared by official sources, tops the polling percentage of the past 13 terms in constituency.

Polling began at 7 a.m., after mock poll before polling agents, and the process continued till 7 p.m. Starting as early as 6.30 a.m. voters queued up outside polling stations. By 9 a.m., the turnout was 12.9% and within the next two hours the figure touched 31%

All the major contestants, Nomula Bhagat of ruling TRS, BJP’s Ravi Kumar Naik and Kunduru Jana Reddy of the , Congress cast their votes along with family members in their respective polling stations at Ibrahimpet, Palugu Thanda and Nagarjunasagar.

Despite the harsh weather and COVID surge, the voter turnout surpassed the previous best of 80.03% recorded in the in 2014 Assmbly polls.

In all, there were 346 polling stations, also the highest till now, and officials ensured shade tents, first aid, and disposable gloves for voters. COVID-19 regulations were largely in place except for failure of social distancing at stations with high number of voters. However, no voter was allowed inside the premises without temperature scan, hand sanitisation and mask.

Interestingly, unlike in the past elections, there were no visible instances of finding missing names in the electoral roll and voters returning disappointed from the polling venues.

Also, as a standard operating procedure, officials said it was decided to apply the indelible ink on the left hand’s middle finger of the voter as against the forefinger, as voters of the recently-concluded Graduates’ MLC were still bearing signs of the ink. And by 7 p.m. at the close of polling, no polling station had pending voters on the premises

The entire polling process was incident-free, thanks to the clockwork policing and deployment of paramilitary personnel, in addition to civil and special police staff to centres with large number of voters. While there were 108 polling stations that were identified as critical and hyper-critical, there were no incidents of disorder and the polling was peaceful.

Chief Electoral Officer, Telangana, Shashank Goel, and General Observer Sajjansingh R Chavan, toured several polling stations in Nagarjunasagar town and Anumula, and reviewed arrangements and the polling trend. They also expressed satisfaction over COVID-19 regulations at the stations.

The record polling in Nagarjunasagar Assembly constituency, observers and officials believe, is due to the rigorous follow-up the leaders of various political parties ensured in the past one month, and the meticulous execution of booth management.

According to a few officials monitoring poll code violations, “each voter and each house in the constituency was contacted at least thrice by each political party during the campaigns. Some leaders came up with ‘one in-charge per-50 persons’ village and habitation-wise.”

Polling officials transported the sealed voting machines and the entire voting material to the reception centre and strong rooms set up at the state warehousing corporation godowns near Arajalabavi in Nalgonda town, 60 kms away.

Counting of votes, as per schedule, will be held on May 2.

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Printable version | May 18, 2021 12:43:35 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/record-88-turnout-for-sagar-bypoll/article34346323.ece

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