After a high-voltage campaign that saw a war of words among contending parties, Telangana is set for Assembly polls on Friday with the Congress-led alliance challenging the ruling TRS, and the BJP seeking to make it a triangular contest.
More than 1.50 lakh polling officials, including reserve staff, are in the process of giving final touches to make the election to the 119-member House a smooth affair.
Over 2.80 crore people are eligible to exercise their franchise in the State, which has a total of 32,815 polling stations across.
Congress has struck an understanding with Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Communist Party of India (CPI) and Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS) to form the Mahakutami alliance. TDP fought the last election in alliance with BJP.
The key candidates whose fortunes are at stake in this election include Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, Uttam Kumar Reddy and Akbaruddin Owaisi. KCR, the caretaker chief minister had quit TDP to float the TRS and revive the movement for Telangana state in 2001. At that time, KCR was not a very popular leader, but he proved a huge crowd-puller and single-handedly made 'Jai Telangana' a house-hold slogan.
Uttam Kumar Reddy, the Telangana Congress chief, is seeking re-election from Huzurnagar constituency. In the previous election, Reddy had won the seat by a margin of 23,924 votes over his nearest TRS rival.
Akbaruddin Owaisi, brother of All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi, is contesting from AIMIM stronghold Chandrayangutta constituency. Owaisi has been elected to the Assembly in 1999, 2004, 2009 and 2014 from the constituency.
While KCR was without doubt the star campaigner for TRS, the Congress and the BJP fielded their bigwigs for campaigning which turned out to be a shrill one. For the Congress, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and the party president Rahul Gandhi addressed election rallies. Rahul also addressed a joint meetings with TDP chief and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu.
The BJP relied on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the party president Amit Shah. Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath also campaigned extensively in Telangana.
Gajwel is the Assembly constituency from where K Chandrashekar Rao has filed his nomination. The Congress has pitted Vanteru Pratap Reddy against him.
Khanapur, the largest of the ten constituencies in Adilabad, will witness a three-way contest. It is also ones of the places where the long-brewing Adivasi-Lambada conflict is likely to impact the results of the election.
Another interesting constituency to watch will be Serlingampally. As a number of people from outside the state have settled in this constituency, the conflict between locals and migrants may play a part in the political scenario in the constituency.
Polling will start at 7 am and end at 5 pm, while in 13 constituencies which were classified as Left Wing Extremist-affected, polling ends one hour before (4 pm).
As many as 446 flying squads are in operation in the state to swing into action if any irregularity is reported during the elections and 448 static surveillance teams would also keep a watch on the situation and would wait in wings to take action, Kumar said.
Besides, 224 video-surveillance teams and 133 video-viewing teams have been pressed into service. There are 126 assistant expenditure observers and 123 accounting teams.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Dec 07, 2018 00:03:35 IST