Congress prez poll: Voting underway in Telugu states
Hyderabad: Polling was underway at Congress party offices in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh on Monday for the election to the post of the president of All India Congress Committee (AICC)
At the Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) headquarters Gandhi Bhavan in Hyderabad, leaders queued up to cast their votes.
The polling also began at 10 a.m. at Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh. State Congress chief S. Sailajanah was among the first voters as the party leaders were stationed in Kurnool to receive Bharat Jodo Yatra led by Rahul Gandhi.
In Hyderabad, former ministers K. Jana Reddy, Ponnala Laxmaiah and Mohammed Ali Shabbir and former MP Mallu Ravi were among the first to cast their votes.
TPCC president A. Revanth Reddy, Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Mallu Bhatti Vikarmarka and other key leaders are likely to exercise franchise later in the day.
As many as 238 voters from 119 constituencies in Telangana are eligible to cast their votes.
The polling will continue till 4 p.m. and the results will be declared on Wednesday, after the ballot boxes from across the country reach New Delhi.
The party is witnessing a direct contest between veteran leader Mallikarjun Kharge and Lok Sabha member Shashi Tharoor. Kharge is considered a favourite as he enjoys support of the Gandhi family.
The election was necessitated after Rahul Gandhi resigned as AICC president and decided to stay away from the top post.
For the first time in 24 years, no member of the Gandhi family is a candidate for the party’s top post.
In Hyderabad, Raj Mohan Unnathan is the Returning Officer and Raj Baghel is the Assistant Returning Officer for the poll.
Mohammed Ali Shabbir and Mallu Ravi are the poll agents of Kharge, while Kummari Srikanth and Santosh Kumar Rudra are for Tharoor.
Kharge is believed to be enjoying the support of the majority of voters in TPCC. He had visited Hyderabad for campaigning and had held a meeting with the party leaders at Gandhi Bhavan.
Tharoor also visited the city but did not go to Gandhi Bhavan. He addressed a press conference at a city hotel.
About 350 members of Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) are eligible to cast their votes.
The polling is not being held in the APCC headquarters in Vijayawada. As Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra is set to enter Kurnool district on Tuesday and all party leaders are camping there, the polling booth has been set up in Kurnool.
Former MP Meenakshi Natarajan is acting as the election officer in Andhra Pradesh.
APCC spokesman Janga Gautam was the first to cast his vote in Kurnool. APCC president Sailajanath, working president N. Thulasi Reddy and Sheik Mastanvali were among the first voters.
During the campaigning, Kharge had visited Vijayawada to seek support of the voters. Tharoor, however, did not visit the state.