Peaceful polling in Machilipatnam constituency

Staff Reporter

Electronic voting machines pose problems at some polling stations

Polling hectic in the early part of the day

Women have heated argument with police at one booth

MACHILIPATNAM: After a slow start in the initial hours, the voter turnout picked up by 10 a.m. in many polling stations in Machilipatnam Lok Sabha constituency on Thursday. The turnout of women and youth was high in many areas, and it was quite evident in rural areas. This was amply clear during a visit to areas like Janardhanapuram, Nandivada and the villages adjoining Pedana and Machilipatnam.

A large number of people waited for their turn in long queues to cast their vote. The pace of polling was hectic in the early part of the day and many polling stations registered close to 20 per cent within the first three hours. This trend continued till noon by when the polling percentage touched 45 per cent in many areas.

The electors put up with scorching heat to exercise their franchise, leading to brisk polling with 45 to 50 per cent of the votes being polled by noon. As a result, polling stations wore a deserted look in the afternoon. Voters started pouring in again from 3 p.m., and the crowds swelled by the closing hours.

The women voters at Ratna upper primary school here entered into a heated argument with the police and election staff when the police tried to control the crowd. They said they had been waiting for more than three hours but there was no forward movement in the queue. The women voters calmed down only after election staff gave slips to them and assured them that they would wait till the last voter who entered the premises by 5 p.m. exercised his or her vote.

The Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) did not work at polling stations like Lakshmi Narasimhapuram in Nandivada mandal in Gudivada Assembly segment for some time, giving anxious moments to the polling staff.

The election was held in the district under tight security unheard of in recent times. The polling was mostly peaceful across the Machilipatnam Lok Sabha constituency. There were no major reports of any untoward incident from any part of the State, barring some trivial incidents such as non-functioning of EVMs and missing of names in electoral rolls.

The voters cleverly talked of a different party after every few miles. While some youths here said they voted for the Praja Rajyam, a few middle aged voters said they voted for the Telugu Desam. However, in mandals like Nandivada, a native of Rural Water Supply Minister Pinnamaneni Venkateswara Rao, the voters said they voted for the Congress.

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