Tirupati bypoll ends amidst allegations of irregularities

TDP’s Narasimha Yadav requesting ‘fake voters’ in a bus at Korlagunta Road to not to vote in the elections
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TDP’s Narasimha Yadav requesting ‘fake voters’ in a bus at Korlagunta Road to not to vote in the elections

Highlights

The by-election to the Tirupati Lok Sabha constituency concluded on Saturday with an overall voter turnout of over 60 per cent

Tirupati: The by-election to the Tirupati Lok Sabha constituency concluded on Saturday with an overall voter turnout of over 60 per cent. This was much less compared to the polling percentage in 2019 general elections.

Unlike in the 2019 elections, this time it was a high-voltage campaign by all the main parties, YSRCP, TDP, Congress and BJP. The polling also was equally surcharged since morning as there were large scale allegations of impersonation of votes in the pilgrim city.

The TDP MPs met the Central Election Commission in New Delhi and demanded that the election be cancelled and fresh elections under direct supervision of CEC and Central forces be held as large scale rigging had taken place. The ruling party leaders, including Advisor to the State Government Sajjala Ramakrishna Reddy and Minister E Peddi Reddy denied the allegations and said that the Opposition was preparing ground to explain its defeat in the polls. They said there was no need for the ruling party to bring voters from outside. The welfare schemes of the government were enough to continue their winning spree in elections.

However, at the ground level, there have been several complaints since morning of impersonation and many people in Tirupati complained that someone else had cast their vote and the officials took no action.

The Congress and BJP leaders also alleged that rigging had taken place. They alleged that outsiders were brought in buses by YSRCP with fake ID cards and voter slips. There are instances when Opposition party workers questioned some women, they could give the name of the voter correctly but could not tell the name of their husband. Some voters did not know the name of their father. Opposition parties alleged that this was one of the evidences of impersonation. Many buses and other private vehicles did enter Tirupati town claiming that they were yatra specials. They were stopped by Opposition party workers at many places and were sent back leading to mild tension at some places.

They alleged that when complained, the police arrested the opposition workers instead of acting against impersonators. The ruling party however denied this and said that opposition was levelling baseless allegations.

TDP leaders, including ex- MLA M Suguna, Tirupati Parliament constituency president G Narasimha Yadav staged a protest near Tirupati Urban office to press the election authorities to stop the irregularities in the polling process.

Groups of outsiders were seen near the polling booths at many places in the pilgrim city in the morning which the opposition alleged that they were outsiders brought from Piler, Madanapalli, Punganur, Chandragiri, Kodur and Kadapa in buses and vans to cast votes.

Congress senior leader Dr Chinta Mohan stopped some vehicles reportedly carrying outsiders. He alleged that about 10,000 outsiders were brought for impersonation. The Left parties CPI, CPM, SUCI and RPI staged a protest at Gandhi Statue.

Security was beefed up after the visit of District collector Harinarayan. Tirupati Urban SP Ch Venkata Appala Naidu said complaints were received from political parties about outsiders with fake voter ID cards trying to vote and added that enquiry will be done on the allegations.

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