Polling began on Tuesday (December 1) in the high-stakes Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) election following a vociferous and often acrimonious campaign. The voting for the 150-ward GHMC commenced at 7 am and will end at 6 pm.
A total of 74,44,260 voters will exercise their franchise using ballot papers to elect their representatives. The total number of contesting candidates is 1,122. Counting of votes is on December 4.
Union Minister of State for Home G. Kishan Reddy, ruling TRS working president and Telangana Municipal Administration Minister K.T. Rama Rao, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) president Asaduddin Owaisi and actor-turned-politician Chiranjeevi were among the early voters.
“Following all the Covid precautions, I and my family members exercised our right to vote at the Kachiguda polling station this morning. We must all exercise the right to vote enshrined in the Constitution for effective governance. #GHMCElections2020 (sic),” Reddy tweeted.
అన్ని రకాల కొవిడ్ జాగ్రత్తలు పాటిస్తూ, ఈ రోజు ఉదయం కాచిగూడ పోలింగ్ స్టేషన్లో నేను, నా కుటుంబ సభ్యులు ఓటు హక్కును వినియోగించుకున్నాము.
— G Kishan Reddy (@kishanreddybjp) December 1, 2020
“Please go out & vote. Vote for a peaceful Hyderabad, for Hyderabad’s distinct culture & identity & to strengthen India’s democracy #GHMCElections2020 #Hyderabad (sic),” Owaisi wrote on his Twitter handle.
— Asaduddin Owaisi (@asadowaisi) December 1, 2020
The Telangana State Election Commission (SEC) has made elaborate arrangements for the balloting process by deploying 48,000 (including reserve) polling personnel and 52,500 strong police force.
The commission had decided to conduct the election with ballot papers after obtaining the views of major political parties and the Health Department in view of the COVID-19 pandemic and taking into consideration various relevant issues, it had said.
హైదరాబాద్ నందినగర్లో ఓటు హక్కును వినియోగించుకున్న మంత్రి, టీఆర్ఎస్ పార్టీ వర్కింగ్ ప్రెసిడెంట్ శ్రీ @KTRTRS దంపతులు. ప్రతి ఒక్కరు విధిగా తమ ఓటు హక్కును వినియోగించుకోవాలని కోరారు.#GHMCElections2020 pic.twitter.com/jbSdqgVuH6
— TRS Party (@trspartyonline) December 1, 2020
The commission has also made special arrangements in view of the pandemic.
The main contest in the poll is among the ruling TRS, opposition BJP and the Congress. The run-up to the polling witnessed a high decibel and often acrimonious campaign. The TRS is contesting in all the 150 seats, while the BJP in 149, and the AIMIM in 51.
Buoyed by its victory in the recent bypoll to Dubbak Assembly constituency, the BJP conducted a powerful campaign to win the GHMC polls, to boost its chances in the assembly elections in 2023.
Top leaders, including Union Home Minister Amit Shah, party president J P Nadda, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Union ministers Prakash Javadekar, Smriti Irani and Kishan Reddy, who is Lok Sabha member from Secunderabad, party MP and BJYM national president Tejasvi Surya participated in the campaign.
“We’re going to free Hyderabad from the Nawab, Nizam culture and create a mini-India here. We want to build Hyderabad into a modern city, free from the shackles of Nizam culture,” Shah had said in Hyderabad after a roadshow.
(With inputs from PTI)