AP polls: Faulty EVMs, violence mar polls in AP

Women wait to cast their votes for Lok Sabha and Assembly elections at a polling station in Rangareddy district, Thursday, April 11, 2019. (PTI Photo)

A Telugu Desam party worker and a YSRCP activist died and many were injured including speaker of Andhra Pradesh Assembly in widespread violence in the Assembly and Loksabha polls in the state on Thursday.

Irate voters raised slogans against the Election Commission for delay in rectifying faulty EVMs in several districts. Finally the EVMs were replaced and the state registered a poll percentage of 74.18 by 6 pm.

 
The faction-ridden Rayalaseema and Palnadu regions witnessed widespread violence during the polling. In all, six EVMs were damaged. Gooty assembly candidate Madhusudan Gupta of Janasena Party slammed the EVM on the floor protesting delay in polling. He was arrested.
 
Assembly Speaker Dr. Kodela Siva Prasada Rao, who is seeking re-election from Sattenapalli in Guntur district, was among the injured as YSRCP activists manhandled him inside the polling booth. His vehicle was damaged as opponents threw huge stones on it, injuring his assistants. YSR Congress Party refutied allegations and claimed that its Narsaraopet candidate Gopireddi Srinivas Reddy was injured.

In Jammalamadugu in Kadapa district, the workers of both parties pelted stones at each other. TDP worker Siddha Bhaskar Reddy died in a clash with YSRCP activists in Veerapuram village of hypersensitive Tadipatri constituency in Anantapur district. YSR Congress worker Pulla Reddy was seriously injured, the party confirmed. Telugu Desam party activists attacked Puthalapattu assembly YSRC nominee MS Babu, injuring him and his son. Chittoor SP Vikrant Patil rushed to the spot.
 
In Ahobilam under the Allagadda Assembly segment of Kurnool district, state minister Bhuma Akhila Priya’s husband Bhargav and sister Mounika were injured when YSRCP activists pelted stones as they arrived at a polling booth. Sub Inspector Sudhakar Reddy and an independent candidate Kunduru Ramireddy and six others were injured in the stonepelting. In Allagadda Mounika Reddy protested on the road demanding the release of two TDP workers allegedly kidnapped by YSRCP.

The TDP accused YSRCP of resorting to violence to stop voters from reaching polling booths. Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu wrote to the EC urging to extend the polling time and requested the voters who returned home due to EVM problems to come back and vote.

State chief electoral officer Gopalakrishna Dwivedi however said that 12 minor incidents of clashes outside the polling centers were reported. "The poll has been peaceful barring a few incidents and the death of an activist," he said.

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AP polls: Faulty EVMs, violence mar polls in AP

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