High polling percentage in Telangana municipal polls leaves parties guessing

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HYDERABAD: The high percentage of polling witnessed in the elections to 120 municipalities and nine municipal corporations across Telangana on Wednesday has left the political parties guessing about its impact on their fortunes.

 

While the official figures are still not available, media reports estimated the total polling to be about 75 percent, which is one of the highest in the state.

Polling began at 7 am and concluded at 5 pm. Counting will be taken up on January 25. However, Karimnagar Municipal Corporation will go for polls on January 25 and the results declared on January 27.

The polls are being held for 2,647 wards in 120 municipalities and 382 divisions in nine corporations. However, councillors to 80 wards and three divisions had been elected unopposed.

The ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) may have an easy sailing in the polls, as it has seemingly caught the opposition Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) off-guard.

The TRS had asserted its dominance in the elections to the zilla parishad territorial constituencies (ZPTC) held after the Lok Sabha elections by winning a staggering 83% (449 out of 588 seats) of the ZPTCs. The Congress had won 75 ZPTCs.

The TRS had stormed to power earlier in 2018 by winning 88 of the 108 seats. The Congress and BJP had done poorly in the elections. While the Congress won 19 (since then 12 have joined the TRS) and the BJP bagged just one seat.

However, in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the TRS had managed to win only nine of the 17 seats, much lesser than what it was expecting. The Congress had won three seats and BJP four. Ever since the general elections, the BJP has been claiming that is the only alternative to the TRS in Telangana to replace the Congress.

A senior TRS leader said his party is confident of improving its position in the municipal elections. Both Congress and the BJP have filed 2,616 and 2,313 candidates for 3,052 wards, in municipalities and corporations.

The timing of the polls and the preparedness of the TRS has left both the opposition parties behind, as they have not been able to find enough candidates to contest in all the wards.

In a first-of-its-kind step in the country, the commission is using facial recognition app in a bid to counter impersonation of voters on Wednesday and ten polling stations in Kompally Municipality of Medchal Malkajgiri district have been selected for the pilot project. A total of 7,700 voters cast their vote at these 10 polling stations.

The use of the new technology entails a polling official verifying a voter’s ID proof using a smartphone, and then taking his/her photo. The voter’s photo is then upload on the server using ‘face recognition app’.

This image is tallied with the photo on the voters’ list. If, the image is tallied, a green mark appears on the smartphone, stating he/she is a genuine voter (with inputs from Times of India).

Image Credit: News Minute

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