Maheswara Reddy | Apr 10, 2019 | 4 min read
Telagana went to polls with record no. of candidates in Nizamabad
Nizamabad's 185 candidates and 12 EVMs made history in the first general elections to be held in Telengana.
Telangana: India's youngest state, Telangana held its first phase of general elections today. Polling was held at 17 Lok Sabha constituencies, but Nizamabad stole the show with a record number of 185 candidates contesting the elections.
443 candidates contested from 17 constituencies in Telangana in the first phase of the general elections. The Election Commission arranged for 34,604 polling stations manned by around 3 lakh polling staff, policemen and security personnel.
The first phase of polling began at 7 a.m. for 16 constituencies, except at Nizamabad, where it began at 8 a.m. and concluded at 6 p.m. Except for a few skirmishes between Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and TRS activists, the elections were held in a peaceful and orderly manner.
The Election Commission had made tight security arrangements at 16 assembly constituencies known for Naxal activities. These sensitive areas include, Sirpur, Asifabad, Bellamapalli, Bhadrachalam, Mulugu, Kothagudem, Bhupalapalli, Asvarao Pet, Pinapaka, Illendu, and Manthani.
Addressing the media, Chief Electoral Officer, Dr. Rajat Kumar said, "I found a lukewarm response from voters in Hyderabad. I heard that some private companies did not declare a holiday to enable employees to cast their votes. I will take action against such companies, if I receive complaints against them.''
At Nizamabad, farmers formed the majority of the 185 candidates contesting for the Lok Sabha seats. The EC had set up 12 EVMs in the constituency, but faulty EVMs led to delays for the voters who had to queue up for more than 30 minutes to cast their votes. Even candidates found the situation troubling. The Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) candidate, K. Kavitha, contesting for the Lok Sabha from Nizamabad said, "I want the Election Commission to make proper arrangements for voters to exercise their franchise. I appealed to all voters to visit their nearest polling booths and cast their votes.''
The TRS founder and Chief Minister of Telangana, K. Chandrasekhar Rao led the election campaign and is confident about winning 16 Lok Sabha seats. All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen's (AIMIM) candidate, Asaduddin Owaisi is being tipped to win from Hyderabad.
To hold onto their lone seat in Telangana, BJP had roped in national leaders, Amit Shah and U.P. Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath to address public meetings and rallies. BJP denied a ticket to its sitting MP, Bandaru Dattatreya from Secunderabad. Instead the party fielded former MLA, G. Kishan Reddy from that constituency. TRS fielded Talasani Saikiran Yadav, while Anjan Kumar Yadav was the Congress candidate from that constituency.
Congress, which had an alliance with other political parties in the last assembly elections is contesting alone and fielded candidates in all constituencies. They are expected to win from two constituencies, Khammam and Chevella. Renuka Choudhary from Congress and Nama Nageswara Rao from TRS contested from Khammam.
"K. Chandrasekhara Rao is confident of winning 16 Lok Sabha seats and playing a key role in national politics. Many welfare schemes announced by the Telangana government will help TRS candidates to win,'' said Prof. E. Venkatesh of Hyderabad Central University.
According to Sudhakar Goud, a political analyst, the lukewarm response from voters had to do with the frequent elections held in the state ranging from the gram panchayat to the assembly elections and now Lok Sabha elections.
“Fatigue is the reason for the poor voter turnout in the Lok Sabha elections. Voters have no trust in candidates because they do not know how long candidates will remain loyal to their respective parties once elected. Congress and BJP are responsible for the TINA (there is no alternative) factor in Telangana. The TRS cornered all political parties by encouraging defections. Congress won 19 seats in the assembly elections, but 10 Congress MLAs then joined TRS. TRS encouraged defections despite having an absolute majority in the state assembly,’’ said Goud.
According to political analyst, Prof. P. L. Visveswara Rao Congress has improved its chances of winning more Lok Sabha seats. “One cannot expect voters of Telangana to support TRS candidates in Lok Sabha elections since there is a difference between regional issues and national issues. Voters consider national issues while casting their votes in Lok Sabha elections. The TRS candidates got defeated in the recently held elections to the Legislative Council. This shows the resentment of voters against the TRS government. Look at the number of farmers contesting from Nizamabad. The chief minister’s ambition of playing a key role in the centre has not gone down well with voters,’’ said Prof. Rao.
State Governor, E.S.L. Narasimhan, Chief Secretary, Shailendra Kumar Joshi and prominent personalities like K. Taraka Ramarao, Junior NTR, Rajendra Prasad, Krishna and Vijaya Nirmala cast their votes in the morning.
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