Amid the opposition charges of “manipulation by the ruling YSR Congress Party” and a surge in COVID-19 cases, the vote ended with over 64.29% of voters voting in the largely peaceful by-elections z the constituency Tirupati Lok Sabha (SC) on Saturday.
Coronavirus incidence cast a shadow over the poll, which started with only 7.80% of the 17.10 lakh voters who voted in the first two hours of the poll in compliance with the safety protocol, even with EVMs in some stations in the Bypoll caused by the death of seated YSRCP MP B. Durgaprasad.
Voter turnout improved by 36.67% by 1 p.m. and 54.99% by 5 p.m., said SPSR Nellore District Collector and Returning Officer KVN Chakradhar Babu. The heat wave that swept across the constituency brought a good number of voters to polling stations at dusk and some polling stations continued to vote beyond the 7:00 p.m. deadline. In 2019, the constituency received over 79% polls.
The opposition Telugu Desam Party, the Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress called for a repoll under CAPF security protection because the YSRCP had conducted large-scale mock polls in several booths by mobilizing “outsiders” in private buses and vans, an indictment , which was rejected by the YSRCP ruling party.
The official official spokesman for MP and BJP, GVL Narasimha Rao, tweeted: “In Tirupati (SC) Lok Sabha Bypoll, there has been a large amount of coverage of the wrong vote by the decision of @YSRCParty. State administration and police are silent spectators of this subversion of democracy. Ask @ECISVEEP to order Repoll in all of these booths. ”
TDP candidate and former Union Minister Panabaka Lakshmi and YSRC candidate Dr. M. Gurumoorthy were among those who exercised their right to vote early in the day.
Voters were only allowed to vote after thermal scanning and hand washing with a disinfectant by the more than 10,850 election workers in 2,470 stations, including 877 critical ones, in the assembly segments Sarvepalli, Gudur, Sullurpeta and Venkatagiri in the SPSR district of Nellore and Tirupati, in the neighboring Chittoori district of Satyaveedu and Srikalahasti . The process was webcast from 1,241 polling stations. 23 companies of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) and the AP Special Police provided security protection.
Voters were not allowed to enter the stations without a face mask. COVID-19 patients and patients with suspected symptoms were allowed to vote for an hour from 6 p.m. under medical supervision
Survey workers rated positively
The vote was paused for more than 30 minutes at a booth in the Kaluvoya Mandal in the segment of the Venkatagiri assembly because an election worker was found to be COVID positive. The process continued after the station was disinfected. Police had a hard time removing a PDS van with the picture of Prime Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy parked near a polling station by a grocer supposedly to woo Chembadipalem voters in the Gudur rally segment. Voters in Buradagali Kothapalem in the mandal of Chittamur boycotted the by-poll in protest against poor roads in the village. The efforts of YSRCP MLA V. Varaprasad to get them to vote have been in vain.
Appointment of civil servants
The special correspondent from Tirupati added: The poor turnout in the morning hours led the electoral authorities to periodically appeal through the media to voters to exercise their right to vote. The Tirupati Assembly segment had the lowest percentage from 45.84 to 5pm, while Sullurpeta had the highest percentage at 60.11.
Congress candidate Chinta Mohan exercised his right to vote in his khadi colony in Tirupati.
Chittoor collector M. Hari Narayanan, election observer Dinesh Kumar Giridhar Lal and MCT commissioner PS Girisha stayed in the control room and monitored the process through webcasting. They also rushed to some places to give instructions to the electoral staff.