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After intense campaign, voting underway in Hyderabad civic body polls

The civic body election is a high stakes battle for the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), the BJP, which is trying to make inroads, and Asaduddin Owaisi's AIMIM.

By: Express Web Desk | Hyderabad | Updated: December 1, 2020 9:51:28 am
Polling began at 7 am and will continue till 6 pm. (Cyberabad Police Twitter/Screengrab)

After a high-octane campaign, polling is underway in Hyderabad to elect the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation’s (GHMC) next council. A total of 74.67 lakh voters are eligible to exercise their franchise. Polling began at 7 am and will continue till 6 pm. The counting of votes will be held on December 4.

The civic body election is a high stakes battle for the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), the BJP, which is trying to make inroads, and Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM.

Union MoS for Home G Kishan Reddy, Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi, and IT minister KT Rama Rao were among the early voters to exercise their franchise Tuesday morning.

READ | BJP hopes to make Telangana inroads with Hyderabad polls, but TRS confident ‘divisive agenda’ won’t work

hyderabad, hyderabad polls, hyderabad civic polls, GHMC polls, Indian Express Police personnel conduct a flag march ahead of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) elections, near the historic Charminar (PTI)

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 MoS (Home) G Kishan Reddy, who is Lok Sabha member from Secunderabad, party MP and BJYM national president Tejaswi Surya participated in the campaign.

As many as 1122 candidates are in the fray to win 150 divisions of the civic body. A total of 74.67 lakh voters are eligible to exercise their franchise, and the State Election Commission of Telangana has set up 9101 polling stations across 2927 locations in the city. The SEC had decided to hold the municipal elections using ballot papers and not electronic voting machines(EVMs) this time. As part of poll arrangements, 18202 ballot boxes were shifted to the polling booths Monday.

Explained | Hyderabad civic polls: What is at stake for the TRS and BJP?

GHMC workers load ballot boxes in vehicles for respective divisions ahead of the GHMC elections, in Hyderabad (PTI)

In view of Covid-19, the Commission has instructed for mandatory sanitisation at every polling station on the day of polling and a day before. Sanitizers are being provided at the entry and exit point of every polling station. Face Masks are mandatory and the electors are required to lower the face masks for identification, when required. No voter, according to the SEC, will be allowed inside the polling station without a face mask.

Of the total voters, 38.89 lakh are men and 35.77 lakh are women. 678 persons are enrolled in ‘others’ category. The polling percentage recorded in GHMC elections in 2016 was 45.29 percent. In 2009, it was around 42 percent

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