Telangana: ULB polls end on smooth note

Polling is being conducted following the Covid-19 guidelines in Siddipet on Thursday

Hyderabad: Polling in seven Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) including Greater Warangal and Khammam municipal corporations concluded smoothly on Friday. Barring stray incidents, the polling largely remained peaceful. On the direction of Telangana High Court, State Election Commission (SEC) took various measures to ensure strict adherence to COVID-19 guidelines during the polling.

Notwithstanding the Covid-19 pandemic and scorching temperatures, voters turned up at the polling booths since morning to cast their votes in Greater Warangal and Khammam municipal corporations and five municipalities – Siddipet, Jadcherla, Atchampet, Kothur and Nakrekal. Polling was also held for the by-elections to four wards in four municipalities and one ward in Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC).

As the polling concluded by 5 pm, the voter turnout was 54.74 per cent in GWMC, 59.80 per cent in Khammam municipal corporation, and 67.18 per cent in Siddipet municipality among others. Meanwhile, 68 per cent voter turnout was registered in Achampet, 66.6 per cent in Jadcherla, 85.42 per cent in Kottur and 86.65 per cent in Nakrekal.

Polling began at 7 am across all the ULBs where the officials made arrangements to ensure strict adherence to Covid-19 protocol, such as masking and physical distancing, during the polling. Sanitisers have been made available at the entry of polling stations. Sanitisation of polling booths, use of Arogyasethu app by all those involved in elections, distribution of kits containing one mask, sanitiser and face shield to every polling personnel, were among the other guidelines being followed.

A total of 11,59,112 voters including 5,84,963 women were eligible to cast their votes in these elections. As many as 1,307 candidates including 480 independents are in the fray in two corporations and five municipalities. The poll authorities have set up 1,539 polling stations and deployed 9,809 polling personnel for smooth conduct of elections.

Stray incidents of clashes between the ruling TRS and the Opposition parties were reported in Greater Warangal and Khammam municipal corporations. However, the police intervened and brought the situation under control.

State Election Commissioner C Parthasarathi monitored the polling process from Hyderabad and instructed the officials concerned at regular intervals to ensure that the polling is conducted in strict adherence to the Covid-19 norms. He also instructed them to arrange transportation to polling and police personnel from reception centres to their destinations after handing over the election material duly following Covid guidelines i.e. occupancy in any bus shall be restricted to 50% only.

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