ANDHRA PRADESH

Observers prefer to play it safe

Voters form serpentine queues at a polling station in One Town in Vijayawada West Assembly constituency in the early hours of polling on Thursday.

Voters form serpentine queues at a polling station in One Town in Vijayawada West Assembly constituency in the early hours of polling on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: Photo: Ch. Vijaya Bhaskar

Special Correspondent

Polling goes on late into the evening without any untoward incident

VIJAYAWADA: A keen contest was witnessed between Congress candidate Malladi Vishnu, Grand Alliance candidate Ch. Babu Rao (CPI-M) and Praja Rajyam Party candidate Vangaveeti Radhakrishna in Vijayawada Central Assembly constituency, going by the polling trend on Thursday.

All the three candidates appeared to have done equally well, with even the keen observers of the constituency being unable to give rankings to them in the race. Polling went on late into the evening without any untoward incident.

Voters waited for hours in the blazing sun to exercise their franchise. The number of women voters was relatively high. Long queues were witnessed in polling stations even after 5 p.m. Polling personnel closed the gates turning away those who came later.

Mr. Radhakrishna, talking to The Hindu at the Vivekananda Centenary High School in Ajit Singh Nagar, alleged that Congress workers were violating the election code by printing the party name on the slips given to voters for identifying their polling booth.

Cross voting was reported in areas that were said to be strongholds of respective parties. In Satyanarayanapuram, a stronghold of the Congress, “anti-incumbency” to the UPA Government appeared to have caused the voters to vote for TDP Lok Sabha candidate Vallabhaneni Vamsi Mohan, in the absence of a “strong” BJP candidate. The same voters, however, showed their loyalty to the Congress by casting their Assembly constituency vote to the party candidate Malladi Vishnu.

In parts of Ajit Singh Nagar, a stronghold of Mr. Babu Rao (CPI-M), TDP sympathisers reportedly voted for Mr. Radhakrishna (PRP), notwithstanding the Grand Alliance arrangement. The cross voting is being attributed to the rivalry the TDP leaders had with Mr. Babu Rao. In some other parts of the constituency, the TDP sympathisers reportedly voted for the Congress candidate.

In parts of Gunadala area that come under Vijayawada Central constituency, a stronghold of Congress candidate in Vijayawada East constituency Devineni Rajasekhar, votes were cast for the PRP and Congress Lok Sabha candidate Lagadapati Rajagopal as part of a late night trade off between the sitting MP, Mr. Rajasekhar and Mr. Radhakrishna.

This deal replaced a similar one worked out between Mr. Rajasekhar and the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

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