High turnout in Seemandhra; rival party workers clash
High turnout and sporadic clashes marked Wednesday's polling for 25 Lok Sabha and 175 assembly seats in Seemandhra region of Andhra Pradesh. Around 20 people were injured in clashes between activists of rival parties.
Chief Electoral Officer Bhanwarlal said 33 percent polling was recorded till 11 a.m.
Kurnool district recorded the highest turnout of 41 percent while the lowest polling of 12 percent was witnessed in Guntur district.
Six people were injured in a clash between YSR Congress Party and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) activists in Parachur in Prakasam district.
Three police vehicles were damaged in an attack by villagers in Devagudi in Jammalamadugu of Kadapa district. A police officer was also injured in the attack.
Clashes were also reported from Anantapur, Chittoor and Guntur districts. Details about the other injured were not immediately known.
Director General of Police Prasada Rao said polling was peaceful barring minor incidents in some places.
Long queues were seen since early morning at most of 40,709 polling stations in 13 districts.
Technical snags in a few electronic voting machines (EVMs) delayed start of polling at a few places, but Bhanwarlal said the faulty EVMs were replaced within a few minutes.
As many as 36.76 million people are eligible to vote in nine districts in coastal Andhra and four in Rayalaseema.
Seemandhra, as the two regions are together called, will come into being as a separate state of Andhra Pradesh June 2 with the formation of Telangana.
As many as 335 candidates are in the fray for the Lok Sabha while 2,241 contestants are testing their political fortunes in the assembly polls.
Polling will conclude at 4 p.m. in two Maoist-affected assembly constituencies and at 5 p.m. in eight segments. In the remaining 165 constituencies, polling will end at 6 p.m.
Over 100,000 police personnel and 272 companies of central paramilitary forces have been deployed as part of the security arrangements.
Poll officials are keeping tight vigil in certain areas notorious for electoral malpractice.
The most prominent among the contestants for the Lok Sabha are cabinet ministers and Congress leaders Kishore Chandra Deo (Araku) and Pallam Raju (Kakinada), YSR Congress honorary president Y.S. Vijayamma (Visakhapatnam) and former central minister D. Purandeswari of BJP (Rajampet).
In the assembly polls for Seemandhra, chief ministerial hopeful and TDP state president N. Chandrababu Naidu is contesting from Kuppam assembly constituency.
Another chief ministerial aspirant and YSR Congress president Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy is fighting his first assembly election from the family stronghold of Pulivendula.