Authorities have set up 37 polling stations for elections to six seats of the Telangana Legislative Council from local authorities’ constituencies, scheduled to be held on Friday.
A total of 5,326 voters are eligible to cast their votes in the elections to six seats in five undivided districts – Adilabad, Karimnagar, Khammam, Medak, and Nalgonda.
Chief Electoral Officer Shashank Goel on Wednesday held a video conference with District Collectors, Police Commissioners, Superintendents of Police, and other officials to review poll arrangements. He directed them to make all necessary security arrangements for the free and fair polling.
The CEO wanted the officials to ensure that the polling process is conducted without any untoward incident. The officials were also asked to ensure strict adherence to Covid-19 protocol during the polling.
Goel made it clear that mobile phones and cameras will not be allowed inside the polling centres. The poll officials will monitor the polling through webcasting.
Local bodies’ representatives are eligible to cast their votes in these constituencies. Counting of votes will be taken up on December 14.
In Adilabad, ruling TRS candidate Dande Vittal is facing an independent candidate. For two MLC seats in Karimnagar district, 10 candidates including the ruling party’s L. Ramana, and Bhanuprasad Rao are in fray.
In Medak district, TRS candidate Madhava Reddy is locked in a contest with Congress nominee Nirmala and independent candidate Malla Reddy. In Khammam, Tata Madhu of ruling party, Congress candidate R. Nageshwar Rao and two independents are in fray. In Nalgonda, TRS candidate Koti Reddy is facing opposition from four independent candidates.
The Election Commission had last month issued notification for election to six seats of the Council from local authorities’ constituencies.
Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao’s daughter K. Kavitha and five other candidates of ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) were declared elected unanimously.
Kavitha was elected from Nizamabad constituency. The others who were elected to upper house of the state legislature are Patnam Mahender Reddy, Shambipur Raju (both from Rangareddy district), Pochampally Srinivas Reddy (Warangal), Kasireddy Narayana Reddy and Kuchumalla Damodar Reddy (both from Mahabubnagar district).
The Election Commission had on Tuesday cautioned Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar to exercise due care in the conduct of the election as expected from the officer of his stature.
It also directed the Chief Secretary to issue a formal and recordable warning, and the Commission’s displeasure to Municipal Administration and Urban Development Secretary C. Sudarshan Reddy and Special Chief Secretary Arvind Kumar for clear violation of model code of conduct (MCC).
The ECI noted that the two officers had issued an order on November 18 for enhancement of honorarium, including conveyance allowance to mayors, chairpersons, deputy mayors, vice-chairpersons, corporators, ward members and co-option members of the ULBs, who are precisely the electoral college for elections to the Legislative Council.
The state government, however, withdrew the order on November 19 but several people had lodged complaints with the EC.
Meanwhile, the Forum for Good Governance (FGG) alleged that contesting candidates are organising camps for the election of MLC local authority constituencies.
FGG secretary M Padmanabha Reddy said that the voters that are corporators, councilors, MPTCs and ZPTCs were shifted in buses to Goa and Bengaluru. They are provided food, liquor and 5 star hotel facilities and other various entertainment, he said.
He urged the CEO to take action against the candidates who are committing offences by organising camps.