As battle lines are drawn for assembly elections in Telangana scheduled on Friday, security has been beefed up across the youngest state in the country. This is the second time the state is going to assembly polls since it was formed in June 2014.
Telangana legislative assembly was dissolved in September, more than 10 months before the expiry of its term, giving way to the early elections.
Telangana was carved out of Andhra Pradesh. In the first assembly poll, incumbent caretaker Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao-led Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) won 63 seats out of 119 with a vote share of 34 per cent. The party gradually won over legislators from other parties, primarily Congress and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and eventually its share of seats went up to 90.
The state is witnessing a three-cornered fight between TRS, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the grand alliance of the Congress, TDP, Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Telangana Jana Samithi, all vying for the majority of seats. All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen (AIMIM) is also contesting polls at several assembly seats.
As part of the security arrangement, 30, 000 state police personnel and 18, 000 security forces from other states along with 290 companies of Central Armed Forces have been pressed on election duty in the state.
For smooth and peaceful conduct of poll, over 1.6 lakh poll personnel have been deployed in the state.
There are over 2 crore 80 lakh voters who would be exercising their franchise in tomorrow's elections. The Election Commission has created 33,000 polling stations spread across 31 districts of the state. As many as 4.57 lakh divyangs or differently abled individuals will also exercise their franchise on December 7.
A total of 1821 candidates including 135 women are in the fray.
Polling will begin at 8 am and continue till 5 pm tomorrow.
Dhana Kishore, Commissioner, Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), told ANI that at every polling station sufficient ballot units are being arranged to avoid any inconvenience. The exercise of distribution of election ballots started early Thursday morning for 15 polling stations in Hyderabad.
"There are around 260 polling stations in Hyderabad region and each polling station will have one EVM and one VVPAT machines. EVMs are highly secured machinery. Already two training programmes have been organised for the officers and a third training programme is scheduled for Thursday. After the training, the officers will reach their polling stations," said Kishore.
The administration has also made an online training video and has circulated it through WhatsApp for election officials.
GHMC Commissioner also informed that 98.67 per cent voters slips of the region have been distributed and the remaining voter slips will be kept with the returning officer.
It has been informed that the persons, with valid government ID proof, can vote, despite not having received the voter slip in advance, if their name is displayed in the voter's list.
While the vote will be cast in the state on December 7, the counting will be done on December 11.