As the curtains came down on campaigning for elections to 17 Lok Sabha constituencies in the State that are going to polls on April 11, the election authority has intensified efforts to ensure all arrangements are made in and around the polling stations across the State.
The State election authority has placed restrictions on transmission of any election related issues on the print and electronic media and ordered closure of liquor outlets and bars for 48 hours effective from 5 p.m. on Tuesday.
In all, 443 candidates including 418 men and 25 women are in the fray for the 17 Lok Sabha constituencies which are going to polls. Nizamabad Lok Sabha constituency has the highest number of 185 contestants while Medak Lok Sabha has the lowest at 10. Recognised national and State parties fielded 61 candidates. Besides these, other registered political parties fielded 83 contestants while 299 independent candidates, including 178 from Nizamabad Lok Sabha alone, are in the fray.
Mahbubabad has the highest number of four women candidates in the fray. Over 2.96 crore electors are set to exercise their franchise in the election for which the schedule was issued on March 10 followed by notification on March 18. Elections to all the constituencies will be held between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. while the timing would be 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the 13 Assembly segments identified having Left Wing extremist activities. Polling in Nizamabad would be held from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. as the mock polling is expected to take more time as compared to other constituencies owing to the large number of contestants.
As many as 34,604 polling stations had been set up for the conduct of the election for which the election officials drafted the services of close to 3 lakh people, including 1.83 lakh employees of different departments, in addition to 141 companies of the Central Armed Police Force. The election authority has already completed the first level checks of the electronic voting machines.
The election equipment is being transported to all the constituencies from the respective distribution centres at the district level. Elections this time are being conducted with over 77,365 ballot units, 41,051 control units and 43,894 voter verifiable paper audit trail machines and Nizamabad accounts for a majority of these equipment as all the 1,788 polling stations in constituency will witness utilisation of 12 ballot units in each of the polling stations.
The Election Commission has appointed over 60 observers including general observers (17), expenditure observers (34) at two per each constituency, police observers (9) and special observers (2) to monitor the proceedings till the polling day.