Visakhapatnam: Polling was by and large peaceful in Visakhapatnam district on Thursday, albeit uncomfortable for the voters who reached the booths early in the morning.
Malfunctioning EVMs irked the voters who had reached the booths well before 7 am to cast their votes.
In some polling stations, the EVMs didn’t work till 11 am.
EVMs in polling booths at Sujathanagar of Pendurthi, AU School in Visakhapatnam, Akkayapalem, Dairy Farm, Indiranagar, Madhurawada, PM Palem and Yellavripalem tested the patience of voters who stood for about four hours under the hot sun.
While there were a sizeable number of people seen milling around in the vicinity of polling booths, roads were by and large empty. People faced difficulty in reaching their destinations as almost all city buses were diverted for poll duties.
One K. Sanyasirao, 64, died of sunstroke in Ravikumtam village under Chodavram constituency.
Elsewhere, some first-time voters were disappointed as their name disappeared from the voter's list. About 200 people reached the district collector office to request the collector for compensative vote but in vain.
Ch Poornima, an IT employee working in Chennai, came down to Vizag to cast her vote but her excitement faded away as her name was missing from the voter’s list.
She said, “I travelled from Chennai to Vizag to cast my vote but I didn’t get the chance to do so. It’s really disappointing.”
The total polling percentage in the district was put at 61.24 per cent at 5 pm.
However, in some constituencies, political parties staged a protest demanding extension of voting time as polling was delayed in the morning due to malfunctioning EVMs.
In Visakhapatnam North constituency, YSRC candidate K.K. Raju staged a protest demanding the poll officials allow voters to cast their vote even after 6 pm. However, the officials remained firm and allowed only those waiting in the queues to cast their vote.
In some polling stations, there were about 1,500 people waiting to exercise their franchise even at 8 pm.
Shockingly, in some areas of Vizag city, people stayed away from the polling booths saying that no party paid them money.
However, when they realised that no candidate would do so, they reached the polling booths in the evening to cast their vote. This has resulted in a heavy crowd in the evening.
Earlier, polling was stopped in Booth No. 260, Ananthagiri, as the officials received a complaint every vote cast was favouring the BJP.
However, the officials ruled out any such possibility.
Elsewhere, minor skirmishes took place between YSRC and TD activists in parts of the district.
Poll officials change malfunctioning units
As many as 211 ballot units, 180 control units and 241 VVPATs malfunctioned and were replaced in Krishna district.
The district election authorities replaced as many as 61 ballot units, 61 control units and 64 VVPATs in 234 polling stations in Tiruvuru.
Reports of poll material malfunctioning were received from Nuzividu, Gudivada, Machilipatnam, in Avanigadda, Penamaluru, Vijayawada West, Vijayawada Central, Vijayawada East and Mylavaram. EVMs were also replaced in Nandigama.
Polling officials also replaced polling material in Nandigama and Jaggaiahpeta.
District electoral officer A. Md. Imtiaz said that all problematic ballot units, control units and VVPATs were immediately replaced so that there was no holding up of voting.
The collector added that polling concluded without any untoward incidents in the district.
He also appreciated the efforts of the police forces, led by Vijayawada police commissioner Ch. Dwaraka Tirumala Rao.
Keep yourself updated on Lok Sabha Elections 2019 with our round-the-clock coverage -- breaking news, updates, analyses et all. Happy reading....