Hyderabad: The BJP maintained its lead over the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) in the by-elections to the Huzurabad Assembly seat on Tuesday.
Eatala Rajender of the BJP was leading by 3,270 votes against his nearest rival G. Srinivas Yadav of the TRS at the end of the eighth round of counting.
Rajender, whose resignation caused the bypoll, secured a total of 35,107 votes after completion of eight rounds, while Yadav had polled 31,837 votes. Venkat Balmoor of the Congress party was a distant third.
For the first time since the beginning of counting in the morning, the TRS candidate took the lead in the eighth round. In this round the BJP polled 4,089 votes while the TRS garnered 4,248 votes.
However, the BJP’s overall lead continued.
With 14 more rounds to go for counting, a close finish is likely in the bitterly contested bypoll.
Rajender, who took a lead of 166 votes in the first round, increased it in the subsequent rounds but Yadav put on the brakes in the eighth round.
Out of 2,36,837 voters, 2,05,053 had cast their votes in the by-election held on Saturday.
The counting began at 8 a.m. at SRR College in Huzurabad amid tight security arrangements.
The postal ballots were counted first. The TRS secured 503 postal votes against 159 by the BJP and 32 by the Congress. Another 14 postal votes were declared invalid.
The Election Commission has prohibited any victory procession after the counting. According to the orders issued by the CEO, not more than two persons will be allowed to accompany the winning candidate or his representative while receiving the certificate of election from the Returning Officer.
A total of 30 candidates were in the fray for the bye-election, caused by the resignation of Eatala Rajender after he was dropped from the cabinet by Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao following allegations of land grabbing.
Rajender, who had been representing the Huzurabad seat since 2009, contested as a BJP candidate.