Hyderabad, April 9 (IANS) The stage is set for polling in all 17 Lok Sabha constituencies in Telangana on Thursday even as campaigning came to an end Tuesday evening.
While canvassing in 13 Assembly segments in Maoist-affected areas ended at 4 p.m, in Nizamabad Lok Sabha constituency the parties were allowed to campaign till 6 p.m. In rest of the state, the campaign ended at 5 p.m.
In their last-ditch effort to woo the voters, the leaders of various parties and candidates addressed meetings, conducted road-shows or undertook door-to-door canvassing.
Bharatiya Janata Party national president Amit Shah addressed a rally in Hyderabad while Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) working president K. T. Rama Rao held road-shows in Nalgonda constituency.
All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) president Asaduddin Owaisi, who is seeking re-election for a fourth consecutive term from Hyderabad, addressed the last election meeting near Ahistoric Charminar.
Nearly 2.97 crore voters will decide the fortunes of 443 candidates in the single-phase polling on Thursday.
Chief Electoral Officer Rajat Kumar said polling in 16 constituencies will be held from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. However, in 13 Maoist-affected Assembly segments bordering Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra, polling will end at 4 p.m.
In Nizamabad constituency, where a record number 185 candidates including 178 farmers are in fray, polling will begin at 8 a.m. and will end at 6 p.m. As the Election Commission is using 12 Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in each polling booth, the officials will conduct mock-polling for two hours from 6 a.m. before opening the booths for voters.
The state has 34,603 polling stations including 5,749 sensitive stations.
AJitender, Additional Director General of Police, said the entire force of Telangana police were deployed while sufficient forces were also mobilized from neighbouring states for free, fair and peaceful polling.A
Besides 55,946 personnel of Telangana state police, 9,700 personnel from other states, 145 companies of central armed forces and 25 companies of Telangana State Special Police were being Adeployed.
The police have made special arrangements in Maoist affected areas. The official said poll boycott call by Maoists for last several decades got no support from citizens. “We believe this time too people will vote in large numbers,” he said.
The ADG said air ambulance and helicopters were being arranged at the strategic locations in consultation with CEO for any contingency.