The polling in Andhra Pradesh on Thursday (April 11) was marred by violence and group clashes, leading to the death of two people, while its sibling Telugu state of Telangana witnessed peaceful voting on Thursday.
The voter turnout in the two states was 62 per cent (approx.) as polling booths witnessed large queues in the last hour.
In Andhra Pradesh, where Chief Minister and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) supremo N Chandrababu Naidu is facing the toughest battle in his four-decade political career, the single-phase polling was held for the 175-member Assembly and 25 Lok Sabha seats. In Telangana, where election was held for 17 Lok Sabha seats, voter fatigue was visible, particularly in Hyderabad, as moderate polling was recorded. Assembly polls were held in the state in December last year.
Anantapur district in the faction-ridden Rayalaseema region of AP witnessed several incidents of group clashes between TDP and YSR Congress party workers. A TDP supporter died in the violence in Anantapur while a YSRCP worker was killed in a group clash in the Chief Minister’s home district of Chittoor.
Several people, including the Speaker of the AP Assembly, K Sivaprasada Rao, were injured in the widespread violence across the state. Sivaprasada Rao, who is seeking re-election from Sattenapalli in Guntur district, was injured when the YSRCP activists allegedly manhandled him inside a polling booth. His vehicle was damaged in stone-throwing.
Angry voters raised slogans against the Election Commission for delay in rectifying malfunctioning EVMs in several districts. The EVMs were later replaced.
A candidate belonging to the Jana Sena Party, Madhusudan Gupta, was arrested after he slammed the EVM on the floor in a fit of rage at Gooty in Anantapur district.
In Jammalamadugu in Kadapa district, the TDP and YSRCP workers threw stones at each other leading to tension in the area.
In Ahobilam, under the Allagadda Assembly segment of Kurnool district, state minister Bhuma Akhila Priya’s husband, Bhargav, and sister Mounika were injured when YSRCP activists threw stones at their car as they arrived at a polling booth. The activists of both the parties also fought pitched battles by throwing stones. Police sub-inspector Sudhakar Reddy and an independent candidate Kunduru Ramireddy and six others were injured.
In Allagadda, Mounika Reddy staged a dharna on the road demanding release of two TDP workers allegedly kidnapped by YSRCP.
The chief minister shot off a letter to the Chief Election Commissioner saying that EVMs were not working in 30 per cent of the polling stations and demanded re-polling in places where voting had not begun till 9.30 am.