[dropcap]A[/dropcap]long with Rajasthan, polling today began in Telangana for 119 Assembly seats. It’s a historic occasion as independent election is being held for the first time in India’s youngest state. Polling started at 7 am and will conclude at 5 pm. However, voting will end in 13 constituencies which have been identified as Left Wing Extremist-affected. While the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) led by caretaker Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) is seeking a second term in office. To counter the TRS, Rahul Gandhi-led Congress has formed an alliance named the ‘Prajakutami’ (People’s Front) along with the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), the Telangana Jana Samiti (TJS) and the Communist Party of India (CPI). The TRS is going alone. BJP has also decided to fight the polls on its own.
The Assembly polls in Telangana were originally scheduled to be held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha elections next year, but the House was dissolved prematurely on September 6 as per a recommendation by the state cabinet. 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 high-octane one. For the Congress, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and party President Rahul Gandhi addressed election rallies. The BJP relied on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the party president Amit Shah.
Here are the live updates:
5.15pm: BJP’s Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi meets the Election Commission. “We’ve demanded immediate action against Congress President Rahul Gandhi for influencing voters through paid news under the garb of his interview in a Hyderabad newspaper on December 6,” he said.
5.10pm: Polling ends in Telangana. Figures of final poll percentage will be announced shortly
4.52pm: As per the tentative estimates, the 13 constituencies recorded 65-70 % polling till the closing hours.
4.48pm: Telangana DGP says polling went on peacefully. “Polling went on peacefully without any law and order problem. Those who are already in the queue will be allowed to cast their vote,” Director General of Police M Mahender Reddy said.
4.45pm: Polling comes to an end at 4 pm in 13 constituencies which were identified as sensitive in view of their proximity to Maoist-affected areas in the borders of Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh.
3.48pm: Voter turnout recorded till 3 pm is 56.17%
2.25pm: Indian shuttler Jwala Gutta’s name goes missing from voters list.
2.20pm: Challa Vamshi Chand Reddy, Congress candidate from Kalwakurthy, Mahbubnagar was allegedly attacked by unknown miscreants earlier today. He was later shifted to Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS) Hospital, Hyderabad and is out of danger now.
2.11pm: Caretaker CM of Telangana cast his vote at a polling station in Siddipet today. He exuded confidence that his party would come back to power in Telangana with a “huge majority.” There is a “very, very positive” mood among voters towards the party, KCR, as Rao is popularly known as, told reporters at his native village Chintamadaka where he cast his vote in the Assembly polls.
2.10pm: Caretaker Minister KT Rama Rao cast his vote at a polling station in Hyderabad earlier today.
1.40pm: Voter turnout recorded till 1 pm is 49.15%
12:57pm: AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi Friday exuded confidence that his party would be successful in Telangana Assembly polls. “I am hopeful. I am fully confident that we will be successful in every seat. I hope people of Hyderabad, people of Telangana take this little difficulty, go out of homes and use their vote,” he told reporters. The AIMIM has fielded candidates in eight assembly segments in Hyderabad out of the total 119 seats in the state. It is supporting TRS in other segments. Owaisi cast his vote in Rajendranagar Assembly segment in Hyderabad on Friday.
12.30pm: BJP MP Bandaru Dattatreya casts his vote at booth no.229 in Ramnagar of Musheerabad constituency in Hyderabad.
12.10pm: KCR’s son and IT minister KT Rama Rao cast his vote at St Nizamia High School, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad.
12.05pm: Sania Mirza cast her vote at Film Nagar Cultural Center in Hyderabad.
11.30am: The youngest state of India, Telangana has lost four precious years due to ‘Corruption, Commission & Coterie Raj: Randeep Singh Surjewala.
11.20am: Voter turnout was 23.17% till 11 am.
11.15am: Former Maoist ideologue and balladeer 70-year-old Gaddar cast his vote in Alwal for the first time in his life. He registered himself as voter in April last. He now says that vote is also a weapon to fight against the system
11.07am: A 60-year old man Perumandla Swamy died of heart attack while standing in the queue for casting his vote at a polling station in Paidipalli village of Warangal district.
11.05am: Actor Vijayashanti and Congress candidate from Khairatabad Dasoju Sravan cast their votes.
11am: Popular actor Junior NTR cast his vote at Jubilee Hills.
11am: Stone pelting allegedly by BJP workers on Congress candidate Ch Vamsichand Reddy at Amangal in Kalwakurthy constituency; Injured Reddy shifted to Hyderabad for treatment.
10.35am: Voter turnout in Telangana till 10 am stood at 11%.
10.20am: Telangana chief secretary SK Joshi cast his vote at Prashasan Nagar, Jubilee Hills, whereas Telangana Jana Samithi president M Kodandaram cast his vote at Tarnaka.
10.15am: TRS MP K Kavitha stood in a queue to cast her vote at polling booth no. 177 in Pothangal, Nizamabad.
10:15 AM: As per the latest reports, voter turnout recorded till 9.30 am in Telangana is 10.15%.
10:04 AM: Actor Chiranjeevi stands in a queue to cast his vote at polling booth no. 148 in Jubilee Hills in Hyderabad.
10:00 AM: Badminton player Jwala Gutta today claimed that her name “disappear” from voters list. “Surprised to see my name disappear from the voting list after checking online!! How’s the election fair…when names r mysteriously disappearing from the list!!” Gutta tweeted. She also encouraged voters “Go out n VOTE #TelangaElections2018.”
09:54 AM: In his audio message to the party workers in Telangana, Gandhi said the Congress party realised the “dream of Telangana” for the state’s people. “That dream of Telangana has been betrayed for the last five years. KCR (Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao) ji did not do what he had to. Now your time is coming. Stand at the polling booth and put all your effort to make the Congress win,” he said.
9:48 AM: Asaduddin Owaisi casts his vote at polling booth no. 317 at Mailardevpally, Shastripuram.
9:45 AM: Former home minister Sabita Indra Reddy, Chevella MP K Vishweshwar Reddy casts their votes.
09:32 AM: A total of 8.97% voter turnout recorded till 9 AM, as per reports
09:23 AM: The Telangana Rashtra Samiti has rejected Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s statement on renaming Karimnagar if the BJP came to power in Telangana, saying it’s a non-issue. Addressing an election rally Wednesday at Karimnagar in the poll-bound Telangana, Adityanath said: “If the BJP comes to power in Telangana then BJP will work for renaming Karimnagar district into ‘Karipuram’ and respect your sentiments.”
09:05 AM: State Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Rajat Kumar Thursday said as many as 446 flying squads were in operation in the state to swing into action if any irregularity was reported and 448 static surveillance teams would also keep a watch on the situation. They would wait in the wings to take action, he said. Besides, 224 video-surveillance teams and 133 video-viewing teams were pressed into service. There were 126 assistant expenditure observers and 123 accounting teams.
08:52 AM: Huge sums of unaccounted cash and illegal liquor and other goods were seized since the Model Code of Conduct came into effect on September 27. As per the last count, the total seizures stood at nearly Rs 135 crore including unaccounted cash, illegal liquor and other goods, Rajat Kumar said adding that the total seizures was 90 per cent more than that of during 2014 polls.
08:41 AM: The time for change is now, the time to fight is now. Congress workers of Telangana, tomorrow we must put our heart & soul to bring a govt for the people: Congress President Rahul Gandhi
08:39 AM: Congress exhorts electorates to vote
08:37 AM: PM Modi tweets
8:23 AM: Due to technical glitch polling in Kodangal booth began an hour late.
8:22 AM: Actor Allu Arjun outside Hyderabad polling booth
8:20 AM: Actor Akkineni Nagarjuna and his wife actor Amala Akkineni stand in a queue to cast their votes at booth no. 151 in Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad.
8:00 AM: In Kodangal, from where Telangana PCC chief A Revanth Reddy is contesting, polling is yet to commence due to technical problems.
7:50 AM: NTR’s granddaughter Nandamuri Suhasini, TDP candidate from Kukatpally, casts her vote in Mehdipatnam in Hyderabad.
7:49 AM: Polling yet to begin at a station in Amberpet due to technical problem
7:30 AM: People queue outside a polling station in Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad to cast their votes.
7:20 AM: Roads and buildings minister Tummala Nageswara Rao and his family members vote at Gollagudem village in Khammam district.
7:16 AM: TRS president K Chandrasekhar Rao’s nephew and irrigation minister T Harish Rao cast their vote at Siddipet
7:13 AM: As polling begins in Telangana, 32,815 polling stations have been set up for the people to cast their vote.
7:07 AM: Polling officers are conducting mock polling for agents of contestants to demonstrate functioning of EVMs.
7:05 AM: Voters form queues outside a polling station in Pothangal
6:30 AM: Voting to begin shortly in Telangana