Hyderabad: Peaceful polling was underway on Saturday in the by-election to Narayankhed assembly constituency in Medak district of Telangana.
The election authorities have made elaborate arrangements for the voting, which began at 7 a.m. and will continue till 5 p.m.
As many as 1,88,236 voters are eligible to exercise their franchise. The authorities have set up 286 polling centres in the constituency.
Strict security arrangements have been made to ensure peaceful and smooth conduct of the polling. The officials are monitoring the poll process through live webcasting from 142 polling stations.
Medak district collector and district election officer Ronald Ross said no untoward incident was reported from anywhere in the constituency.
In an attempt to increase the polling percentage, 20 model polling stations have also been opened. At these booths, four in each of the five mandals, the polling staff is welcoming voters with flowers.
“The idea is to give good experience to the voters. We have set up shamianas (tents) to protect them from the sun and also providing them drinking water, tea and buttermilk,” Ronald Ross said.
The by-election was necessitated due to the death of sitting Congress legislator P. Kishta Reddy in August 2015.
There are eight candidates in the fray but the main contest is between P. Sanjeeva Reddy, son of Kishta Reddy, from Congress, M. Vijayapal Reddy from Telugu Desam Party and M. Bhupal Reddy from ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS).
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Fresh from its huge victory in Warangal Lok Sabha by-elections and Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) polls, TRS is making a determined bid to wrest the seat from Congress.
Narayankhed has always been a stronghold of the Congress party and TRS failed in capturing the seat in the last two elections.
TRS president and Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Reddy also addressed a public meeting in the constituency during his party’s poll campaign, promising to transform the region.
The Congress party is banking on the sympathy wave.
The TDP, which is contesting the elections in alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has fielded TRS candidate Bhupal Reddy’s brother Vijayapal Reddy.