Violence Mars Second Phase Of AP Polls

Hyderabad, April 26 | Updated: Apr 27 2004, 05:30am hrs
The second phase of polls in Andhra Pradesh was marred with violence, snatching and destroying of electronic voting machines at various locations. Some places had also witnessed hurling of crude bombs. Two persons were killed and 33 others injured in the clashes between rival TDP and Congress activists in the keenly contested second phase of polling for the 147 assembly and 21 Lok Sabha seats in Andhra Pradesh.

According to the Chief Electoral Officer, M Narayana Rao, there was a possibility of ordering repoll in at least 65 polling booths where obstruction to election process was reported.

Speaking to media here at the state's secretariat, Mr Rao said that the election commission had received a number of complaints from both the rival parties including independents and the commission would take a decision after receiving reports from the polling officers concerned. The repolling, if ordered, will be held on April 28, he added.

Mr Rao said that the electronic voting machines (EVMs) were either destroyed or damaged in about 33 locations, while in four places the EVMs were snatched away by the anti-social elements.

"We have yet to receive reports from the concerned polling officers, then only we can take a final decision on repolling", he pointed out.

As per the latest reports from the districts, about 52.53 per cent voting was recorded. However, Mr Rao felt it may increase further as the polling is still on in some places due to delay in commencement of polling. Mr Rao said that there were about 3 deaths reported during the elections process, including a polling officer due to heart ailment. A TDP worker was allegedly killed in a clash in East Godavari district.

According to unofficial reports from districts, PWG naxalites have blasted the polling booth in Kollukula village under Markapuram assembly constituency in Prakasam district.