Kurnool/Vijayawada: There was a high voter turnout, of nearly 80 per cent, for the keenly contested Nandyal by-election in Kurnool district on Wednesday, forcing the Telugu Desam and YSRC to pull out their calculators.
Nandyal has a larger numbers of urban voters (67.2 per cent), and TD leaders felt that this would cancel out any benefit that the YSRC may get in the rural areas of the constituency where the rest of the voters (about 20.5 per cent in Nandyal Rural and 12.3 per cent in Gospadu mandal) stay.
In the event, Gospadu mandal registered the highest polling percentage at 90.81 (26,192 votes), followed by Nandyal Rural 87.61 (41,514 votes) and Nandyal Urban 74.06 per cent (1,05,629 votes).
The YSRC said the high polling percentage was an indication of the strong anti-incumbency feeling, while the TD claimed that the large numbers indicated support for the government's developmental work in Nandyal. One notable feature was the large presence of aged persons and women voters, while fewer young voters were observed in the queues at many polling stations.
Of the nearly 2.18 lakh registered voters in Nandyal (1,07,778 of them men), 1,73,335 had cast their vote. Among these, there were 84,831 men and 88,503 women. The large turnout of women had its own impact on the poll calculations. Minister Somireddy Chandramohan Reddy was confident that the TD would win with a 10,000-vote majority. YSRC legislator G. Sreekanth Reddy believes his party will win by 10,000 votes.
There were clashes between TD and YSRC cadres in some polling booths. At the Gandhinagar polling booth it was alleged that the followers of the TD's ex-MLA from Ongole, Anne Rambabu, attacked YSRC leader Rajagopal. Some YSRC activists were injured. At YSR Nagar, SBI Colony, in Nandyal town, and in Yallur, Gospadu, and Kanala villages, rival factions hurled abuses at each other. Apart from this, no cases were registered during the voting, district superintendent of police Gopinath Jetti said. Returning officer V Prasanna Venkatesh said that all EVMs worked perfectly, without any technical glitches. The polling percentage was 79.20 per cent; 77.66 per cent voting was recorded by 5 pm and Mr Bhanwar Lal said there were still long queues outside polling booths
YSRC candidate Shilpa Mohan Reddy claimed the trend appeared to favour the YSRC despite the many hurdles placed by the government. She said the police ignored complaints that tourism minister Bhuma Akhila Priya and her sister Bhuma Naga Mounika had entered polling booths in violation of the rules....