Hyderabad/Amaravati, April 10 (IANS) Nearly seven crore voters in the Telugu states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are eligible to exercise their franchise in the elections to 42 Lok Sabha constituencies on Thursday.
The stage is set for polling in 25 Lok Sabha constituencies in Andhra Pradesh and 17 constituencies in Telangana. Voters in Andhra Pradesh will also cast their votes to elect 175-member Assembly.
A little over 3.93 crore voters in Andhra Pradesh will decide the fortunes of 319 candidates for Lok Sabha seats and 2,118 candidates in Assembly polls.
Authorities have set up 46,120 polling stations, of which 9,000 booths are considered sensitive.
Elaborate security arrangements have been made in all 13 districts of the state. Officials said besides the 55,000 state police force, 60 companies of Andhra Pradesh Special Police (APSP), 5,666 personnel from other states and 197 companies of the central armed police forces were deployed.
Ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) are locked in a direct fight for power. Jana Sena of actor Pawan Kalyan, which is making its debut and contesting in alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the left parties, may influence the verdict in few constituencies.
The prospects of both Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress, which are contesting on their own, appear bleak.
In 2014 elections, the TDP had bagged 102 seats while its then ally BJP had won four seats. The YSRCP had won 67 seats. Two Independents were also elected.
In the simultaneous elections held for the Lok Sabha, the TDP had bagged 15 seats while the BJP got two. YSRCP candidates were elected from eight constituencies.
Chief Minister and TDP President N. Chandrababu Naidu, YSRCP President Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, Jana Sena leader and actor Pawan Kalyan, Naidu’s son Nara Lokesh (both making their electoral debut), Naidu’s brother-in-law and actor N. Balakrishna and state Congress chief Raghuveera Reddy are among the prominent candidates.
Key contestants for the Lok Sabha include former Union Ministers Kishore Chandra Deo, Ashok Gajapathi Raju, Kotla Surya Prakash Reddy (all TDP), M.M. Pallam Raju and J.D. Seelam (Congress), D. Purandeswari (BJP), state BJP chief Kanna Lakshminarayana and former CBI Joint Director V.V. Lakshminarayana (Jana Sena).
In Telangana, nearly 2.97 crore voters will decide the fortunes of 443 candidates in the single-phase polling.
The state has 34,603 polling stations including 5,749 sensitive stations.
Jitender, Additional Director General of Police, said besides 55,946 personnel of Telangana Police, 9,700 personnel from other states, 145 companies of central armed forces and 25 companies of Telangana State Special Police were deployed.
Nizamabad constituency will be entering the record books with a record number of candidates and maximum number of EVMs. A total of 185 candidates including 178 farmers are in fray, and 12 Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) will be used in each polling booth.
The farmers filed the nominations to highlight their problems including lack of remunerative prices for their produce.
Telangana Chief Minister and Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) President K. Chandrashekhar Rao’s daughter K. Kavitha is seeking re-election from Nizamabad.
Buoyed by the landslide victory in the recent Assembly elections, TRS is confident of winning 16 seats, leaving Hyderabad for its ally All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM).
Opposition Congress is demoralised with the defection of 10 MLAs and other leaders to the TRS over the last one month.
In 2014 elections, the TRS had bagged 11 seats while the Congress had won two. The TDP, BJP, AIMIM and the YSRCP had secured a seat each.
The TDP and the YSRCP are not contesting the elections this time in Telangana.
K. Kavitha, Vinod Kumar (both TRS), state Congress chief Uttam Kumar Reddy, former Union Minister Renuka Chowdary (Congress) and AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi are among the prominent candidates.