Polling, by and large, peaceful in West Godavari

Waiting for their turn: Women voters stand outside a polling station at Chettunnapadu, a Kolleru village in West Godavari district on Thursday.

Waiting for their turn: Women voters stand outside a polling station at Chettunnapadu, a Kolleru village in West Godavari district on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: Photo:A. V. G. Prasad

Staff Reporter

Clash between TDP and PRP activists leads to damage of electronic voting machines at two places

Decision to be taken on repelling at two places

EVM snag delays polling at 35 places

ELURU: Polling in West Godavari district, by and large, was peaceful, barring sporadic incidents of violence. The district recorded 73.7 per cent by the time the polling came to an end at 5 pm. Bhimavaram witnessed the highest voter turnout (82 per cent) while Denduluru the lowest (62 per cent).

The clash between the TDP and the PRP activists led to damage of electronic voting machines (EVMs) at Galayagudem and Gangannagudem falling under the Denduluru Assembly segment. The election authorities suspended the polling at the two places as a result of the damage of EVMs. Collector G. Jayalakshmi said a decision on conduct of re-polling in these villages would be taken shortly in consultation with the Election Commission.

Protest planned

PRP district convener K.P.N. Satyaprasad said the party was planning to stage a protest at the Collectorate, demanding the release of `innocents’ who were whisked away by the police in connection with the clash and action against the police for their alleged excess.

In as many as 35 places, the polling failed to take off as per the schedule due to certain technical problems associated with the EVMs. However, the process began an hour later soon after rectification of technical problems. The faulty EVMs were replaced at 10 places. Chiru fans reportedly failed to vote for PRP at Chinaranganipalem under Bhimavaram Assembly segment as the pressing button opposite the party’s rail engine symbol did not function, leading to protest. Similar complaint were witnessed at a polling station at Tadepalligudem when the PRP symbol was not clearly visible for want of lighting.

The oppressive heat and sultry weather seemingly failed to dampen the spirit of voters who waited in long queues for a long time to cast their vote. In many places, women were seen getting exposed to the scorching sun for want of shelter. There were complaints about the lack of drinking water for voters who found it difficult to quench their thirst in the process of their prolonged wait.

Money played crucial role on the polling day in different areas, including Palacole where PRP president Chiranjeevi is in the fray. The PRP activists foiled the alleged attempts of distributing saries to voters by the Congress, leading to tension for some time. In Kovvada Annavaram under the same segment, a section of voters stayed away from the polling in a bid to expose the alleged bias in distribution of money by candidates.

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