Polling is underway in the by-election to Warangal SC Lok Sabha constituency in Telangana where a multi-corner contest among ruling TRS, Opposition Congress, BJP-TDP combine and the YSRCP is being witnessed.
Polling began at 7 AM amid tight security arrangements and it would continue 5 PM.
Polling officials welcomed the first voters at several booths in the constituency by giving them flowers to encourage the electorate to turn up in large numbers.
There are 15,09,671 voters in the constituency including 7,57,231 men and 7,52,293 women, according to Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Bhanwar Lal.
Among the 1778 polling stations, 642, 498 and 33 have been identified as sensitive, hyper-sensitive and Left wing extremism-affected polling stations respectively. The authorities have made arrangements for ‘live’ webcasting in 626 polling stations.
Tight security arrangements have been made, especially in the sensitive and left wing extremism-affected booths to ensure free and fair polls by deploying a total of 7606 policemen.
Though a total of 23 candidates are in the fray, the main contest is considered to be among the ruling TRS candidate P Dayakar, former Union Minister Sarve Satyanarayana (Congress), BJP’s P Devaiah on behalf the BJP-TDP combine and YSRCP’s N Suryaprakash.
Keen on retaining the seat, the ruling TRS has appointed state ministers as in-charges for campaign in the assembly segments falling under the Warangal LS constituency and put up an aggressive campaign.
In addition to the ministers, TRS President and CM K Chandrasekhar Rao addressed a public meeting in support of the party candidate.
Congress, which sought to salvage its prestige after the drubbing in last year’s election despite “delivering” on the separate statehood demand, suffered an early setback with its candidate S Rajaiah landing in jail following the deaths in mysterious circumstances of his daughter-in-law and three children at his home in Warangal.
Rajaiah withdrew his candidature and Satyanarayana became the Congress nominee.