Assembly elections: Polling for crucial elections in Telangana begins

Agency News

Hyderabad, Dec 7: Polling for the crucial elections to 119- assembly seats in Telangana State began at 7 AM on Friday amid tight security.

Over 2.8 crore electorates including 1.39 crore woman were registered to exercise their franchise in the state, which has a total of 32,815 polling stations.

According to State Chief Electoral Officer Dr Rajat Kumar, a major of the 4.57 lakh persons with disabilities (PwDs) who enrolled would likely to vote due to the new awareness created for them and the special facilities offered to them such as free transport, grilled ramps, wheel-chairs, no queue observance and special parking slots. A total of 29,541 volunteers would assist them for voting.

According to Hyderabad district Election Officer Dana Kishore, ramps, wheel chair, ramp-enabled vehicles with one volunteer each, android based GHMC VAADA app, braille slips are the arrangements made at all polling stations in Hyderabad for PwDs. As per records 18,000 people are registered as PwD voters in Hyderabad district. For blind voters, distributing Braille slips, he added.

The polling was began without any problems at all 3873 polling stations established at 15 assembly constituencies in Hyderabad district. According to Additional DG (Law and Order) Jitender , about one lakh police personnel, including 27,900 central security forces ,18,860 from other states and 30,000 state police, were deployed for the polls.

"Special arrangements have been made for the left-wing extremist areas bordering Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra. Combing operations and area domination exercises have been carried out extensively to prevent untoward incidents. State and central security forces have also been deployed and adequate measures have been taken," the police said.

Security also tightened at the sensitive areas in old city, where nearly 300 polling stations were identified as critical and vulnerable polling stations.

Air ambulances and helicopters are also being arranged by the election authorities for any contingency at strategic locations.

The Assembly polls in Telangana were originally scheduled to be held simultaneously with Lok Sabha elections next year, but the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chose to go in for early elections, the Assembly was dissolved on Sept 6, eight months ahead of the date that its terms was to expire on.

Mr Rajat said, Polling will end at 5 pm, while in 13 constituencies which were classified as Left Wing Extremism-affected, polling ends one hour earlier.

He said enough paramilitary force was deployed at the "highly politically sensitive" constituency of Kodangal assembly segment. (UNI)