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All set for Council polls today

Special Correspondent

Polling to be held for 39 seats representing teachers, graduates, local bodies



ARRANGEMENTS COMPLETE: Election staff on Friday getting ready with material for the Legislative Council polling to be held on Saturday at Nizam College.— PHOTO: P.V. SIVAKUMAR

HYDERABAD: All arrangements are in place for the elections on Saturday in 39 constituencies representing graduates, teachers and local bodies in the 90-member Legislative Council.

A local holiday has been declared by the State Government for employees working in offices or institutions, including schools and colleges where polling will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Voters will have to cast their preference votes unlike in the first-past-the post system in the Assembly elections.

As many as 11.62 lakh graduates, 1.22 lakh teachers and 21,296 councillors, corporators, Mandal Parishad Territorial Constituency (MPTC) and Zilla Parishad Territorial Constituency (ZPTC) members will exercise their franchise. The last category of voters alone will elect 23 out of 39 members.

Elections will also be held for eight constituencies each representing graduates (280 candidates) and teachers (95 candidates). A cluster of contiguous districts constitute one seat each of graduates and teachers. Election to 31 other seats from MLAs quota will be held on March 22. Five members from LACs have been elected unopposed and polls to three LACs of Hyderabad and Ranga Reddy districts postponed. There are only 51 candidates in the contest from LACs.

Counting of votes for LACs will be taken up on March 23 and that of graduates and teachers on March 25. Members from MLAs quota will be declared elected on March 22, the day of polling. Counting of votes is a painstaking job as second and third preference votes will have to be considered if any candidate fails to secure 51 per cent of valid votes polled. Teachers can exercise their franchise twice as they are also graduates. To avoid confusion, the ballot papers of teachers will be pink and that of graduates white. The ballot paper for graduates constituency representing Hyderabad, Ranga Reddy and Mahbubnagar is the longest as there are 57 candidates for the lone seat.

Two retired IAS officers-- M. Gopalakrishna and D.S. Murthy-- are contesting from graduates seats.

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