By-poll on in Telangana's Banswada seat

By-poll on in Telangana's Banswada seat

The by-poll, fought on the strong sentiments for separate Telangana state, is being held at a time when a general strike has been on in the region for one month.

A large number of voters had queued up to cast their votes at 186 polling centres in 117 villages in the constituency in Nizamabad district, a stronghold of the Telangana movement.

Nearly 1.60 lakh voters, half of them women, are eligible to cast their votes. The polling, which began at 8 a.m., will continue till 5 p.m., officials said. Over 4,000 policemen have been deployed as part of the security arrangements.
The counting of votes will be taken up Oct 17.

As state government employees continue their strike, the election authorities have drafted personnel of the central government for poll duty. As part of the large-scale arrangements to ensure free and fair polls, the officials have installed web cameras in all the polling stations.

Though there are six candidates in the fray, it is going to be a direct fight between Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) candidate P. Srinivas Reddy and the ruling Congress party's S. Srinivas Goud.

Riding on the Telangana wave, Srinivas Reddy is expected to retain the seat. He had won the seat in the 2009 elections as a candidate of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP). The former minister in the N. Chandrababu Naidu cabinet quit TDP and also assembly membership a few months ago to join TRS, which is spearheading the movement for a separate state.

TRS has completely dominated the electioneering with TDP not fielding its candidate for the by-election while Congress leaders, including Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy and state Congress chief Botsa Satyanarayana, have stayed away from campaigning.

TRS had bagged only 10 assembly seats in the 2009 elections. Last year, all its legislators resigned on the Telangana issue and were re-elected in the by-elections with huge majority, proving the strong sentiments in the region. The TRS also increased its strength as one TDP legislator, who had resigned on the same issue, won the by-election as a TRS candidate.

Telangana accounts for 117 seats in the 294-member Andhra Pradesh assembly.

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