46 lakh to vote in bypolls

Campaigning for the June 12 bypolls to one Lok Sabha and 18 Assembly constituencies will end on Sunday at 5 pm. About 46 lakh voters are expected to excise their franchise in the bypolls which are being touted as the “semi-finals” before the general elections in 2014. With the major political parties of the state, the Congress, YSR Congress and the Telugu Desam, pitted in a three-way contest in Andhra and Rayalaseema regions and with the Telangana Rashtra Samiti and the BJP in the Parkal Assembly seat in Telangana region, the bypolls have assumed utmost importance as far as the immediate political future of the state is concerned.

Elaborating on the measures taken by the EC for the polls, Chief Electoral Officer Bhanwar Lal said on Saturday that outsiders would not be allowed in the constituencies and searches were being carried out in hotels and other places to this effect. “We have directed the police to conduct searches at all the hotels, guest houses, function halls etc., and ensure that no outsiders remain in the constituencies after 5 pm on June 10. The polling will be held from 8 am to 5 pm on June 12,” Mr Lal said.

He added that the EC had made elaborate security arrangements for smooth conduct of polling and only one vehicle would be allowed for each party candidates and poll agents. While the campaigning saw its share of mudslinging, the person who was targeted the most was YSR Congress president and Kadapa MP Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, who is currently lodged in Chanchalguda prison. Meanwhile, several top leaders including Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy has received notices from the EC for making “religious” and other objectionable remarks during campaigning.

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