Regardless of star-studded marketing campaign, Larger Hyderabad Municipal Company election registers low polling

Naveen S Garewal
Tribune News Service
Hyderabad, December 1

The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GMCH) polling saw a very dull response despite having a hectic campaign which attracted national leaders to Hyderabad.

The State Election Commission (SEC) authorities reported less than 40 per cent polling in these civic polls which gained national attention.

The voting scene turned out to be a huge photo opportunity for people to take pictures with Telugu Cine Stars and local politicians.

The SEC released a mere 35.8 per cent of polling at 5 pm. It was by and large peaceful, barring some skirmishes between the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) supporters in the old city area.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state president Bandi Sanjay accused the opposition workers of damaging his car, and preventing him from going to several polling stations.

The SEC has announced re-poll in some wards of Malakpet segment.

Around 4 pm—when two hours of polling was still pending—the SEC reported only 30 per cent of voting, which slightly went up at the end of the polling, but this was still “disappointing”, according to some politicians.

The COVID-19 pandemic, and series of holidays, is said to have acted as a spoilsport in terms of the low percentage. The weather was bright and clear, and people were interested in coming to see their political and cine stars from the Telugu Film Industry.

According to reports tabulated so far, Bagh Amberpet division recorded the highest turnout with 62.82 per cent while the lowest 6.77 per cent was reported from Monda Market.

The elections were held through paper ballots instead of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) at the request of some political parties. For voters above the 80 years, physically challenged, and those who tested COVID-19 positive after November 1 were offered with postal ballot facility— but at some areas, people above the age of 90 years did cast their vote in person.

Actors Chiranjeevi and Nagarjuna were among the two popular Telugu film personalities present. They gave their vote as well.

The former union minister Chiranjeevi and his wife Surekha gave their vote at Jubliee Hills. Nagarjuna and his wife Amla also gave their vote at the polling station at Women Co-operative Society at Jubliee Hills.

A large number of voters, who came to see South Indian film stars Vijay Devarkonda, Bellamonda Sai Sreenivas, etc besides well-known filmmaker Shyam Prasad Reddy, writer Parachuri Gopalakrishna and singer Vandemataram Srinivas, along with family members voted at the polling booth in Film Nagar Club.

Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao’s daughter and Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) leader K. Kavitha, and her brother, and TRS working President KT Rama Rao cast their votes in Banjara Hills.

The counting of votes would be held on December 5.

In the 150-member outgoing GHMC House, the TRS has 99 seats; the AIMIM 44 and the remaining are shared between various other opposition parties.

The GHMC polls are very important because those elected to the GHMC House can directly influence voting in about 22 assembly segments, spread across four districts in and around Hyderabad.

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