Hyderabad: India’s two Telugu states have presented a picture of contrasts, as far as the turnout of voters in the country’s ongoing elections is concerned.
While Andhra Pradesh registered a record turnout of nearly 80 per cent, and voting continued until midnight in some constituencies, Telangana saw low turnout of just 60.57 per cent, about a ten per cent fall since assembly elections last November.
But rival politicians in both the states were interpreting the numbers in their own ways, with some putting up a brave face and reassuring their respective followers of imminent victory.
Widespread glitches in the operation of electronic voting machines (EVMs), and sporadic incidents of violence, caused massive disruptions in voting across Andhra Pradesh, where voting was being held simultaneously for the Assembly as well as Parliamentary elections.
The technical challenges forced authorities to keep voting booths open until late into the night in some constituencies.
Chief Electoral Officer Gopala Krishna Dwvivedi Saif all voters who had reached the polling booth by 6pm were issued tokens and allowed to vote.
The final voter turnout was expected to be announced later on Friday.
The main rivals in Andhra Pradesh — the incumbent Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and opposition YSR Congress party — expressed confidence that they will sweep the polls.
TDP Supremo N. Chandrababu Naidu, in a teleconference with party leaders, said his party would win up to 130 of 175 assembly seats and a majority of 25 Lok Sabha seats in the state.
However he continued to criticise the election commission for the large scale failure of EVMs and said he would continue his fight for bringing back the ballot paper system as people did not have faith in the machines.
“They can be hacked just like a mobile phone,” he said.
Naidu urged the party leaders to maintain round the clock vigils around the strongrooms where sealed EVMs would be stored.
Jaganmohan Reddy said that the massive turnout of the voters suggest that YSRCP will record a landslide victory in both assembly and Lok Sabha elections.
“People have rejected the demonic rule of Naidu”, he said.
He alleged that the TDP tried to reduce the polling percentage using every possible method but failed. He said there was a total clarity in polling as voter could verify their votes through VVPAT.
The bitter rivalry between the two parties took a violent turn in Rayalaseema region as well as Guntur district claiming at least two lives and leaving scores of other injured.
Clashes at some place continued even after the polling ended and tension continued to prevail.