New Delhi, Aug 23 (IANS) The assembly polls in four constituencies falling in Delhi, Goa and Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday witnessed a varied turnout with various contestants including Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar expressing confidence about their victory.
Voters turned out in large numbers in the Nandyal seat of Andhra Pradesh, which recorded 80 per cent polling, according to the statistics released by the Election Commission (EC).
Bawana constituency of Delhi saw a turnout of 44.84 per cent — much below the 61.83 per cent in the assembly polls in 2015.
The Panaji seat, from where Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar is contesting, recorded 70 per cent polling, which again is less than the 77.06 per cent in February. Parrikar faces Congress’ Girish Chodankar and Goa Suraksha Manch’s Anand Shirodkar.
The poll percentage for the Valopi seat in Goa was a high 79.80 per cent, but it was still less than the figure of 86.29 per cent in the February elections. State Health Minister Vishwajit Rane is pitted against Congress’ Roy Naik here.
The Election Commission used Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) in all the polling stations and the counting of votes will take place on August 28.
The bypolls are being seen as significant for the ruling parties — Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Delhi, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Goa and Telugu Desam party (TDP) in Andhra Pradesh – as also for the opposition parties.
In Delhi, the AAP is keen to register its first victory in a bypoll as it lost the previous bypoll in Rajouri Garden to the BJP. The party subsequently also lost the municipal polls.
The Congress is also seeking to bounce back in Delhi and open its account in the assembly, while the BJP is keen to keep up its recent winning momentum.
The low turnout in the reserved seat led to the AAP questioning the decision of the Election Commission to conduct voting on a working day.
The bypoll in Bawana was necessitated after AAP MLA Ved Prakash quit the party and resigned from the Delhi Assembly to join the BJP in March, ahead of the municipal corporation elections.
Prakash contested on a BJP ticket, while the AAP has shown its faith in Ram Chandra — a popular Poorvanchali face. Three-time MLA from Bawana Surender Kumar is contesting on the Congress ticket.
In Goa, the stakes are high for the BJP as the state Chief Minister is in the fray from Panaji. Parrikar expressed confidence that the party would win by a huge margin in both Panaji and Valopi.
Chodankar alleged that election officials were biased in favour of the ruling BJP. “In Panaji, I was fighting alone on one side, while Parrikar was backed by his ministers and the poll officials. It was not a fair contest,” Chodankar told IANS.
He, however, said that voters in both Panaji and Valpoi were angry and had voted for change. “We are confident of winning both seats.”
In Nandyal in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh, over 80 per cent voters cast their ballots in the by-election with the polling passing off peacefully barring minor incidents.
Chief Electoral Officer Bhanwarlal told reporters in Hyderabad that the turnout could be 81-82 per cent and it could turn out to be the highest voting in “years or decade”.
Tension prevailed at Atmakaur in the evening when the family members of TDP and YSR Congress party candidates clashed. Police had to intervene to bring the situation under control.
The bypoll was necessitated after the death of Bhuma Nagi Reddy, who had quit the YSR Congress party to join the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) last year.
There are 15 candidates in the fray, including Bhuma’s nephew Brahmananda Reddy of the TDP, Silpa Mohan Reddy of the YSR Congress and Abdul Khader from the Congress.
The fight is seen to be direct between the TDP and the YSR Congress. Both parties are treating it as a prestige contest.
The constituency witnessed a high-voltage and acrimonious campaign led by Chief Minister and TDP President N. Chandrababu Naidu and YSR Congress chief Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy.
Police registered a case against Jaganmohan Reddy for his alleged remark that there would be nothing wrong if Chandrababu Naidu was shot dead.
The Returning Officer also issued a warning letter to Jagan, as the leader is popularly known, for violation of the model code of conduct.
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