ANDHRA PRADESH

21 LS, 147 Assembly seats go to polls in second phase

HYDERABAD, APRIL 24. Elaborate arrangements have been made for the second phase polling on Monday covering 21 Lok Sabha and 147 Assembly constituencies in which 2.37 crore voters will give their verdict at 26,422 polling stations in the six South Coastal Andhra and four Rayalaseema districts.

Pressing the blue button of 61,647 electronic voting machines to be installed at the booths, the voters will decide the political fortunes of 147 Lok Sabha and 1,037 Assembly candidates in the fray. As in the first phase, women outnumber men as they number 1.19 crore as against 1.17 crore men voters.

A record number of 1.75 lakh polling personnel will conduct the massive operation while a heavy contingent of 2 lakh police will stand guard, meeting emergencies and threats of violence feared from naxalites in Guntur and East Godavari districts and factionalists in Rayalaseema.

About 2,000 villages/habitations have been identified as sensitive or hyper sensitive for bandobust arrangements. Besides, a large number of Central and paramilitary forces have been deployed for ensuring free and fair polls, the Additional Chief Electoral Officer, Ajay Sawhney, announced here this evening.

He said that problem of "missing names" was being tackled by installing helplines with BSNL phone numbers. By dialling 1100, a person can find out whether a particular name exists in the rolls. The capacity of the State level helpline operating from Hyderabad was increased for enabling it to respond to 35 people at a time.

Mr. Sawhney appealed to citizens to verify their names in the rolls before coming to the booths for avoiding possible embarrassment. The other step included deputing ECIL engineers, at the rate of two for each Assembly constituency, for another round of training to polling personnel in handling EVMs. There would be "mock polling" at 6 a.m. on Monday before the commencement of the actual exercise an hour later.

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