The stage is set for polling in all 42 Lok Sabha constituencies in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh on Thursday even as campaigning came to an end Tuesday evening.
In Andhra Pradesh, voters will cast two votes each to elect 25 MPs and new members of the 175-strong Assembly, while in Telangana, the polling will be held only for 17 Lok Sabha seats.
A little over 3.93 crore voters in Andhra Pradesh are eligible to exercise their franchise to decide the fortunes of 319 candidates for the Lok Sabha seats and 2,118 in the Assembly polls.
Authorities have set up 45,920 polling stations, of which 9,000 booths are considered sensitive.
In their last-ditch effort to woo the voters, the leaders of various parties and candidates addressed meetings, conducted road shows or undertook door-to-door canvassing on Tuesday.
Chief Minister and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president N.Chandrababu Naidu, YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) President Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy and Jana Sena leader and actor Pawan Kalyan addressed rallies.
Naidu’s son Nara Lokesh, who is contesting from Mangalagiri constituency in capital region Amaravati, campaigned along with his wife N. Brahmani.
Actors Allu Arjun and Varun Tej also campaigned for their uncle Pawan Kalyan on the last day.
In Telangana, canvassing in 13 Assembly segments in Maoist-affected areas ended at 4 p.m while in Nizamabad Lok Sabha constituency, the parties were allowed to campaign till 6 p.m. In the rest of the state, the campaign ended at 5 p.m.
Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah addressed a rally in Hyderabad while the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi’s (TRS) Working President K. T. Rama Rao held road shows in Nalgonda constituency.
All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) president Asaduddin Owaisi, who is seeking re-election for a fourth consecutive term from Hyderabad, addressed the last election meeting near the historic Charminar.
Nearly 2.97 crore voters will decide the fortunes of 443 candidates in the single-phase polling on Thursday.
Chief Electoral Officer Rajat Kumar said polling in 16 constituencies will be held from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. However, in 13 Maoist-affected Assembly segments bordering Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra, polling will end at 4 p.m.
In Nizamabad constituency, where a record number 185 candidates including 178 farmers are in fray, polling will begin at 8 a.m. and will end at 6 p.m. As the Election Commission is using 12 Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in each polling booth, the officials will conduct mock-polling for two hours from 6 a.m. before opening the booths for voters.
The state has 34,603 polling stations including 5,749 sensitive stations.
Jitender, Additional Director General of Police, said the entire force of Telangana Police was deployed while sufficient forces were also mobilized from neighbouring states for free, fair and peaceful polling.
Besides 55,946 personnel of Telangana Police, 9,700 personnel from other states, 145 companies of central armed police forces and 25 companies of Telangana State Special Police were being deployed.
Police have made special arrangements in Maoist-affected areas. The official said poll boycott call by Maoists for last several decades got no support from citizens. “We believe this time too people will vote in large numbers,” he said.
The ADG said air ambulance and helicopters were being arranged at the strategic locations in consultation with the CEO for any contingency.