HYDERABAD: It will mainly be a three-cornered contest in around 50 municipal wards of the Old City in Hyderabad. Political parties, other than AIMIM, BJP, and TRS, are expected to find the going a little tough in some wards in finding polling agents.
Individuals, who volunteer as polling agents, are typically those well clued with the neighbourhood. Or, they are deputed by parties as polling agents to act as eyes and ears of their respective parties, keeping a close watch at each polling booth and assisting the polling officer in keeping a check on impersonation among voters. They are the ones present at the start of the day and stay on until the ballot boxes are safely taken away to the strong rooms for counting of votes later.
With much of the Old City being its pocket borough for decades, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen is well placed with party workers ready to be deployed as its polling agents. So is the case with Bharatiya Janata Party, which has always coveted a win from Old City, not just in municipal polls but Assembly and Parliament elections as well. Though its leaders have off and on won assembly elections from constituencies in Old City, such as Goshamahal in the last elections, or Karwan in the past, this time around, BJP, which has adopted a resurgent attitude after winning the Dubbak Assembly by-poll, is also well placed with respect to finding polling agents.
TRS, which in the past shared friendly ties with AIMIM, will be contesting from all the 150 GHMC wards this time around. Finding polling agents will not pose many problems for it. But in some wards, there are concerns over how effective its agents will be.
Parties that are expected to face problems in finding polling agents are the likes of Congress, Majlis Bachao Tahreek and independents, who do not have much wherewithal in the area. In some cases, when a person accepts to be a polling agent for a party, he or she may alienate others in the community and find himself or herself isolated for some time to come.
“It is only the AIMIM and the BJP, which will easily find polling agents in the Old City. For everyone else, including TRS, youth, who usually accept these responsibilities, are very wary of being seen as outcasts by others in their neighbourhoods,” a leader of a political party said....