Amid several exit polls suggesting that the Congress will have an advantage over the ruling BRS in Telangana, the counting of votes polled in the November 30 Assembly elections will be taken up at 8 AM on Sunday.
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It will be clear whether the voters preferred the Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao-led regime for a third term, or the “six guarantees” by the Congress worked any miracles, or whether the BJP’s BC chief minister’s mantra’ wooed the electors, or if there will be a fractured verdict, by tomorrow evening.
As many as 2,290 contestants are in the fray in the elections, including BRS supremo Chandrasekhar Rao, his minister-son KT Rama Rao, TPCC president A Revanth Reddy and BJP Lok Sabha members Bandi Sanjay Kumar, D Arvind and Soyam Bapu Rao.
The BRS fielded candidates in all 119 seats. The BJP and Janasena contested in 111 and 8 seats respectively in a pre-poll pact while the Congress gave one seat to its ally CPI. The Asaduddin Owaisi-led AIMIM has put up candidates in nine segments in the city.
Several segments witnessed triangular contests making them keenly watched ones.
KCR contested from two segments-Gajwel and Kamareddy- so did Revanth Reddy-Kodangal and Kamareddy. The BJP fielded its MLA, Etala Rajender, from Gajwel, besides Huzurabad, where he is the incumbent legislator.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed several meetings during the campaign period, besides a roadshow in Hyderabad on Monday amid huge fanfare while KCR spoke at 96 rallies, during the high-octane campaign.
The BRS campaign centred on the previous Congress regime's failures and ongoing welfare measures for farmers and women. Rao also highlighted his struggle to achieve Telangana statehood.
The Congress focussed mainly on the alleged corruption of the BRS government while highlighting its "six guarantees" and a need for a "change" in regime.
The BJP's campaign highlighted the necessity of a "double engine government", "family rule" of KCR and alleged corruption, besides promising to make a Backward Caste leader the CM.
A voter turnout of 71.34 per cent of the eligible 3.26 crore electors was recorded in elections to the 119-member Legislative Assembly on November 30 which passed off peacefully, barring a few minor incidents.
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The Munugode Assembly constituency recorded the highest 91.89 per cent voter turnout while Yakutpura segment recorded the lowest with 39.64 per cent, the office of Telangana Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) said on Friday.
Chief Electoral Officer Vikas Raj told reporters here on Friday that the counting will start first with postal ballots at 8 am and from 8.30 am counting of votes in EVMs will begin.
The CEO further said every counting centre will have 14 counting tables except for six constituencies where the number of polling stations is more than 500 and at such places 28 counting tables will be used.
He said every counting centre will have three cordons consisting of central security forces and state armed police force on the day of counting.
All the EVMs have been sealed and 40 companies of CAPF have been deployed to guard the EVM strongrooms and for the counting, and CCTV cameras have been put up in strongrooms.
Most of the exit polls predicted an advantage to the Congress in Telangana.