Hyderabad: Over 25 per cent polling was registered in the first four hours of voting in the by-election to Munugode Assembly seat in Telangana on Thursday.
The polling, which began on a dull note at 7 a.m., picked up momentum after 9 a.m. as a large number of voters, including women, queued up at the polling booths.
According to officials at the office of Telangana Chief Electoral Office (CEO), 25.80 per cent voter turnout was recorded by 11 a.m.
CEO Vikas Raj told reporters that the polling process is underway in a smooth manner, adding that any snag in Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) is being rectified immediately by the staff.
He said two cases were booked and six persons were arrested during the checking undertaken following complaints about the presence of non-voters in the constituency.
Central election observer Pankaj Kumar visited a few polling centres to monitor the voting process.
Meanwhile, the police seized Rs 12 lakhs in cash in two separate incidents in the constituency.
A search was also carried out at Chandur following complaints that some leaders were distributing money among voters. Police seized Rs 2 lakhs but the accused managed to escape.
In another case, Rs 10 lakhs was seized from Mallapparajupalli in Nampally mandal.
Congress candidate Palvai Sravanthi complained to the CEO that a fake campaign is being run on social media against her by morphing her photograph.
The polling process began at all 298 polling stations in the constituency in Nalgonda district at 7 a.m. and will continue till 6 p.m.
Over 2.41 lakh electorate, half of them women, are eligible to exercise their franchise to decide the political fortunes of 47 candidates.
Poll authorities are monitoring the process through web casting from all polling stations.
For the smooth conduct of the voting process, 1,492 polling personnel have been deployed. The poll authorities have also deployed 199 micro observers
As many as 3,366 state police personnel and 15 companies of central forces have been deployed to ensure peaceful and free and fair polling. Authorities were especially focusing on 105 polling stations which have been identified as critical.
For the first time, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has issued new EPIC cards with six security features, including a hologram.
There are a total of 47 candidates in the fray but the main contest is 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 BJP in August.
He is now contesting on the BJP ticket.
The TRS has fielded former MLA Kusukuntla Prabhakar Reddy, who had lost to Rajagopal Reddy in 2018.
The Congress has fielded Palvai Sravanthi Reddy, daughter of former MP Palvai Goverdhan Reddy.
The by-election is being described as the costliest in the country with the political parties accusing each other of distributing money, liquor and even gold to lure the voters.