Polling for parliamentary constituencies and Assembly segments in Visakhapatnam district began on a peaceful note, with no untoward incident reported from anywhere in the district till around 11 a.m. on Thursday.
Brisk polling was seen at most places with voters forming long queues outside the polling stations right from 7 a.m. The common complaint was the malfunctioning of EVM s, resulting in delayed start of the poll process at some booths. Senior citizens had to wait till 7.30 a.m. at Girijan Bhavan, MVP Colony, for the start of polling due to malfunctioning of EVMs.
TDP candidate for Bheemunipatnam Assembly constituency Sabbam Hari, who is a former Mayor of Visakhapatnam, returned home as the EVM at booth no. 176 at Seethammadhara developed a technical snag. “I returned home after waiting for about 30 minutes as I had no other option,” Mr. Hari told The Hindu.
Some senior citizens returned home, when EVM s did not function even around 8.30 a.m. at Ambedkar Bhavan on the Marripalem National Highway.
Several EVMs in the district such as places in Narsipatnam, Rolugunta, Anakapalle, Madugula and Chodavaram did not function in the first hour. In Anakapalle at some polling stations, the voting did not commence till 11 a.m. due to non functioning of EVMs.
This was the first time since the EVM has come into existence that such large scale malfunctioning was reported, said Ajay Kumar, CPI ML (Liberation) MLA candidate from Anakapalle.
Women turned up in large numbers at the booths. Middle class voters also rushed to the booths in the early hours on their motorcycles and cars.
Senior citizens and morning walkers were among the first to make their way to the booths. They came out after voting in the first 15 to 20 minutes. Rameshwar, a senior citizen of Muralinagar, said: “My children employed in the software sector in Hyderabad have come home to participate in the General Elections. I made it a point to vote in the first hour as I can spend more time with my children and grandchildren for the rest of the day.” The elections have brought a festive atmosphere at many homes with children, working at other places, coming home to vote.
Minister for HRD Ganta Srinivasa Rao, who is the TDP Visakhapatnam North Assembly candidate, cast his vote at the Seventh Day Adventist School at MVP Colony at 7.30 a.m. On coming out of the booth, he expressed confidence that the TDP would win achieve its target of 150 plus Assembly seats in the State. He attributed to the huge turnout of women and senior citizens.
“We are confident of winning all the 15 Assembly segments and three Parliamentary constituencies in the district,” he told the media.
Student volunteers from various colleges were seen assisting the police by directing the voters to park their vehicles at the designated places, away from the polling stations.