All 17 Lok Sabha seats in Telangana are going to the polls on Thursday. As many as 443 candidates candidates are in the fray but the key contest is between Telangana Rashtriya Samiti (TRS), Congress and the BJP.
The Election Commission has identified 13 Assembly segments as Left Wing Extremism (LWE)-affected areas and polling will end at 4 p.m. in these places. For the rest of the State, polling is scheduled to end at 5 p.m.
Perhaps for the first time in the history of Indian elections, 12 EVMs will be used in each booth in Nizamabad, where 185 candidates, including more than 170 farmers, are contesting.
Here are the live updates:
9:15 a.m. | Karimnagar
Polling started on dull note
Polling started on a dull note in various parts of Karimnagar and Peddapalli Parliament constituencies of the integrated Karimnagar district on Thursday.
There was thin attendance of voters at all the polling stations in the district in the early hours of polling. Though the authorities have claimed that they have distributed voter slips to the voters, majority of voters had abstained from voting reportedly due to non-distribution of voting slips. Some voters have arrived at the polling station to check their names, but in vain.
The polling was delayed for some hours in some towns following technical snags in the EVMs. The engineers rushed to the spot and rectifying the problems. Karimnagar MP B. Vinod Kumar along with his family members exercised his franchise at the Government Urdu Medium High School in Karimnagar town. BJP contestant Bandi Sanjay Kumar cast his vote at a polling station in Chaitanyapuri colony in the town.
Villagers of Bandampalli in Peddapalli mandal have boycotted the polling opposing the merger of their village with the Peddapalli municipal town. Even after pleading the voters to cast their votes, they remained indoors and refused to cast their votes. The officials informed the same to the higher authorities about the villagers boycotting the polls. Polling process was going on smoothly in the naxalite affected villages of Manthani Assembly segment abutting the bordering Chhattisgarh state.
K.M. Dayashanker reports
9.05 a.m. | Peddapalli
Voters oppose merger of polling booths
Villagers of Bandampalli boycott polling to register their opposition to the merger of their village with Peddapalli municipal town in Peddapalli district.
Similarly, villagers of Ayyurpalli boycott polls to mark their protest against the merger of their village with Vemulawada town in Rajanna Sircilla district.
EVM issues reported
Voters at one of the polling stations in Government High School at Jakranpally were turned away at one of the booths as the EVMs did not function. At the moment, the voters are waiting outside for electiion authorities to rectify the non-functional EVMs.
The issue was not isolated to Jakranpalli — EVMs at a couple of centers in Nizamabad and in Yellareddy and Peddakodapagal in Zaheerabad Parliamentary constituencies were reportedly non-functional for 30 minutes, before the technical staff sorted out the problem.
9 a.m. | Sangareddy
Polling delayed in some booths in Sangareddy
Polling commenced with an enthusiastic note at several polling stations in Sangareddy district. At some polling station EVMs reported error delaying the polling process for about half an hour.
A large number of people are arriving at polling stations to caste their vote and enquiring with agents where their vote is. Many of the voters reached polling stations with Aadhaar cards.
Those who could not get voter slips are showing the voter details in cell phones to cast their votes.
Mock polling completed
Chief Electoral Officer Rajat Kumar said that mock polling has been completed in all constituencies and there were no problems detected in the functioning of the equipment. Arrangements have been put in place to replace the machines if there was any trouble in their functioning.
Polling peaceful in Telangana
Polling started peacefully in 16 of the 17 Lok Sabha constituencies across Telangana at 7 am.
Voting will start in Nizamabad at 8 am after completion of mock polling. The constituency has a record 185 contestants and the Election Commission is conducting polls through EVMs for such large number of candidates.
As many as 443 candidates are in the fray in 17 constituencies and 2.96 crore voters are expected to exercise their franchise in the elections through 34,604 polling stations. Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao and his wife are expected to exercise their franchise at Chintamadaka in Gajwel around 10.30 am.
Reports from the districts indicated that polling at two polling booths in Tara Degree College, Sangareddy was delayed by 20 minutes as error occurred in EVMs.
8 a.m. | Telangana
Glimpses from voting across the State
7 a.m. | Peddapalli
High alert in Manthani, Peddapalli
The police have sounded high alert in the erstwhile naxalite stronghold of Manthani and Peddapalli Assembly segments for the elections to Peddapalli parliamentary constituency after the Maoists killed a BJP legislator and four security personnel by triggering a landmine in Dantewada region of neighbouring Chhattisgarh on Tuesday.
Incidentally, there was no naxalite movement in the region for the past several years. However, the fresh incident of triggering a landmine in the adjoining State abutting the forests of Mahadevpur mandal in Manthani Assembly segment has become a cause for concern for the police personnel for the peaceful conduct of elections in the forest dominated Manthani and some parts of Peddapalli Assembly segment.