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It's vote sans fear for many

B. Chandrashekhar

Voters say they have got the opportunity after several years


  • Unprecedented security measures
  • Brisk polling at many booths
  • Women turn up in good numbers



    People's power: Gangula Bhanumati goes around her area at Madilacheruvu after casting her vote on Thursday. (Right) A woman innocently flashes her husband's he ID card at a polling station at Thagarakunata.

    ANANTAPUR: For many voters in several Telugu Desam Party-dominated villages in Ramagiri and Roddam mandals, Thursday's polling for the byelection to the Penukonda Assembly constituency was the first opportunity to exercise their franchise freely without fear for nearly a decade-and-a-half.

    The unprecedented security measures enabled free and fair voting. A curfew like atmosphere prevailed all over the constituency as the police did not allow even a small group of people to gather in the vicinity of polling stations.

    Even by-lanes in villages wore a deserted look though the voter turnout was high with long queues seen in most of the polling stations since morning. The polling was brisk till noon at most of the polling stations.


    At Kothagadikunta, voters of SC community said they had not utilised their right to vote during the last 10 years. Yadaiah (55) said he had cast his vote for the first time in four elections. Only 14 out of 787 votes were cast in favour of the Congress in 2004 election here.

    Venkatrami Reddy of Yerronipalli said at Muktapuram polling station that he was casting his vote for the first time in nine years. Voters expressed similar views at Kalkivandlapalli and Gantimarri villages.

    "It is hard to hear people stating that they had not used their right to vote during the last 10 to 15 years here,'' exclaimed B. Naveen Reddy, SI from Hyderabad city, who was posted for poll duty at Kuntimaddi village in Ramagiri mandal. Only 80 out of 2,100 votes were polled in favour of the Congress in 2004 election here.

    At Kanaganapalli, 30 per cent of 2,800 votes were polled in the initial two-and-a-half hours. At Balepalyam, the native place of two of the Paritala Ravindra murder case accused, the polling was 40 per cent till 10 a.m.

    Long queues

    Serpentine queues were seen at three booths at Nasanakota in Ramagiri mandal of Venkatapuram, the native place of the TDP candidate, P. Sunita.Voters from Madapuram and Venkatapuram reached Nasanakota in bullock carts to caste their votes.

    About 80 per cent votes (402 out of 493) were polled at Peddakodipalli in Roddam mandal till 1 p.m. Women were seen in long queues at several polling stations.

    Congress confident

    The chief election agent of Ms. Sunita, B.K. Parthasarathi, said the brisk and high polling was an indication of their win. The Congress camp too exuded confidence that the increase in polling percentage was an indication of their victory.

    A few persons with alternative identification documents like ration cards and others were not allowed to cast votes as their names were not found in the electoral rolls.

    According to the District Collector, Y.V. Anuradha, the polling percentage was 71.5. The mandal-wise break-up is Penukonda-61, Roddam-76, Ramagiri-74, Somandepalli-75, C.K.Palli-74, Kanaganapalli-72 and Dharmavaram rural-68.5.

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