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Two Killed As Clashes Mark Polling In Andhra Pradesh

11 April 2019


Amaravati:  Two persons were killed in clashes in Andhra Pradesh as violence marred polling for simultaneous elections to the 175-member Assembly and 25 Lok Sabha seats on Thursday.

The polling ended at 6 p.m. but the voters who were standing in queues were allowed to cast their votes.

Polling in three Maoist affected Assembly segments ended at 4 p.m. and in three other an hour later.

Officials said 54.66 per cent votes were polled across the state till 3 p.m. The final polling percentage will be known later.

A worker from the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and another of the opposition YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) were killed in violence in Anantapur and Chitoor districts.

More than a dozen others including senior TDP leader and Assembly Speaker Kodela Sivaprasad Rao were injured in clashes at various places.

Complaints of non-functioning of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and resultant delay at the start of polling were received from across the state.

Chief Electoral Officer Gopal Krishna Dwivedi said polling would be allowed till the last man in the queue exercise his franchise.

Chief Minister and TDP president N. Chandrababu Naidu expressed his unhappiness over EVMs not functioning at several polling booths. He wrote a letter to the Chief Election Commissioner, demanding repoll in 150 booths.

A little over 3.93 crore voters were eligible to vote to decide the fortunes of 319 candidates for Lok Sabha seats and 2,118 candidates for Assembly polls.

Authorities set up 46,120 polling stations and deployed nearly four lakh personnel including more than a lakh security men.

The TDP and YSRCP are locked in a direct fight for power while Jana Sena of actor Pawan Kalyan made its debut in alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Left parties. The BJP and Congress also contested all seats on their own.

Chandrababu Naidu, YSRCP president Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, Pawan Kalyan, Naidu's son Nara Lokesh, Naidu's brother-in-law and actor N. Balakrishna and state Congress chief Raghuveera Reddy were among the prominent candidates.

The key contestants for Lok Sabha included former union ministers Kishore Chandra Deo, Ashok Gajapathi Raju, Kotla Surya Prakash Reddy (all TDP), M.M. Pallam Raju and J.D. Seelam (Congress), D. Purandeswari (BJP), state BJP chief Kanna Lakshminarayana and former CBI joint director V.V. Lakshminarayana (Jana Sena)

In 2014 elections, TDP had bagged 102 seats while its then ally BJP had won four seats. YSRCP had won 67 seats. Two independents were also elected.

In the simultaneous elections held for Lok Sabha, TDP had bagged 15 seats while BJP got two seats. YSRCP candidates were elected from eight constituencies.