Munugode by-poll: Stage set for counting of votes

Hyderabad, Nov 5: The stage is set for counting of votes polled in the by-election to the Munugode Assembly seat in Telangana on Sunday. Election authorities have made elaborate arrangements for counting of votes at Arjalabavi in Nalgonda district. The process will begin at 8 a.m. and is likely to be completed by 3 p.m.

Chief Electoral Officer Vikas Raj said all arrangements were in place for the counting. The officials have arranged 21 tables for the process. There will be 15 rounds of counting. Votes polled in 21 polling stations will be counted in each round.

Before opening the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), the officials will count postal ballots. A total of 686 postal ballots were received.

A voter turnout of 93.13 per cent was recorded in the bitterly contested bypoll on Thursday. This surpassed 91.31 per cent polling recorded in the constituency in 2018 polls.

Out of a total 2,41,805 voters, 2,25,192 voters cast their votes. This does not include the postal ballots.

The final polling figure was available on Friday morning as voting in some polling stations continued till 10.30 p.m. The strong room was sealed at 4.40 a.m. as the last EVM reached there at 1.30 a.m.

Since there are 47 candidates in the fray, the poll officials have made necessary arrangements to accommodate all counting agents at the counting centre. Adequate security arrangements have been made. There will also be micro-observers and the entire process will be video graphed.

The constituency in Nalgonda district witnessed massive turnout during the final hours. Though the polling time ended at 6 p.m., those standing in queues were allowed to vote. The process continued till 10.30 p.m. in a few booths.

Though there were a total of 47 candidates in the fray, the main contest was among
three major players – TRS, BJP and Congress.

The bypoll was necessitated after sitting MLA Komatireddy Rajagopal Reddy resigned from the Congress to join the BJPAin August. This time Reddy contested on the BJP ticket.

The TRS fielded former MLA Kusukuntla Prabhakar Reddy, who had lost to Rajagopal Reddy in 2018. The Congress party fielded Palvai Sravanthi Reddy, daughter of former MP Palvai Goverdhan Reddy. Counting of votes will be taken up on November 6.

Following the heavy turnout, all the three major contestants exuded confidence of a victory. TRS leaders told party president and Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao that polling trend shows that the party will win the bypoll.

After analysing the polling trend, finance and health minister T. Harish Rao claimed that TRS will win the by-election by a margin of over 20,000 votes.

In 2018, Rajagopal Reddy had won Munugode seat on Congress ticket, defeating his nearest rival K. Prabhakar Reddy of TRS by 23,552 votes.

Prabhakar Reddy was elected in 2014. This was the first victory of TRS in the constituency which was traditionally dominated by Congress and Communist Party of India (CPI).

This time both CPI and CPI-M backed the TRS.

The byelection was marred by allegations of corruption, distribution of cash, liquor and even gold among voters. The officials seized cash, liquor and gold worth about Rs 8.27 crore.

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