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D-Day: GHMC all set for polls today

D-Day: GHMC all set for polls today
Highlights

In what is going to be a historic verdict for the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), nearly 75 lakh voters in 150 divisions will exercise their universal adult franchise, to entrust the power to administer the corporation, one of the biggest metropolitan civic bodies in the country, on Tuesday for the first time after the formation of Telangana State.

Seemandhra people who had cold feet during the Telangana agitation seem to be a force to reckon with; Major political parties keep their fingers crossed as settlers put their choice close to hearts

Hyderabad: In what is going to be a historic verdict for the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), nearly 75 lakh voters in 150 divisions will exercise their universal adult franchise, to entrust the power to administer the corporation, one of the biggest metropolitan civic bodies in the country, on Tuesday for the first time after the formation of Telangana State.

Amidst heavy security arrangements, polling in 3,117 stations will commence from 7 am and will till 5 pm when 74,23,980 voters - 39,69,007 men, 34,53,910 women and 1,163 others - are expected to exercise their franchise to decide the political fate of 1,333 candidates in the multi-cornered contests in 150 divisions.
While the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) has fielded its candidates in all 150 divisions, the Congress, which is the main Opposition party in Telangana State, is contesting in 149 divisions.

The TDP which is contesting in alliance with the BJP has fielded its nominees in 83 divisions, and the BJP is testing its fortunes in 67 divisions. The MIM which won 43 wards in the 2009 elections is now contesting in 60 divisions. Other parties in the fray are: BSP (55 candidates), Lok Satta (26), CPM (22) , CPI (21) and other registered parties together 49.

There are 640 Independents, most of them being rebels belonging to the TRS, the Congress, the TDP and the BJP. More than any other political party, it is the ruling TRS which has a greater stake in this prestigious elections as it is making a determined bid to wrest power of the corporation, which was earlier under the control of Congress-MIM combine, and is vying to capture the posts of Mayor and Deputy Mayor.

The TRS, which did not contest in the 2009 elections to the GHMC before the bifurcation of the united Andhra Pradesh, is now eyeing to have a firm grip over the corporation to establish its political supremacy in the metropolis too. As part of a grandiose plan to capture power in the corporation, the TRS diligently and meticulously engineered defection of MLAs from Congress and TDP with an eye on the GHMC elections.

All the major players in the field are plagued by rebel trouble as those who have been denied party tickets might play spoilsport and affect the chances of the official candidates. However, the settlers from Seemandhra, who constitute nearly 25 percent of the electorate, hold the key in deciding the fortunes of many a candidate, especially the TRS nominees.

Realising the importance of settler votes, all the political parties, especially the TRS, went all out to placate these sections. Since the TRS had ruffled the feathers of the settlers during the separate Telangana movement, the party leaders, including Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao went all out to soothe the feelings of the Seemandhra voters here by repeatedly assuring that their interests would be well protected and that they too were Hyderabadis like others.

What is more, the TRS, in order to instil confidence among the settlers, has even fielded some of them as party nominees in the elections. The Congress and the TDP, on their part, tried to rake up passions among the settlers by constantly reminding and recalling the utterances and threats of the TRS leaders and cadres dubbing these sections as outsiders. However, the settlers seem to be keeping their choice close of their heart and thus forcing the major players to be on tenterhooks.

The police have made elaborate security arrangements to prevent any untoward incident and to ensure smooth conduct of polling. Besides deploying nearly 45,000 police personnel for security duty, NCC cadets and Home Guards too are being drafted for volunteer services. Even all the polling stations have been fitted with CCTV cameras to monitor the polling process to take place without any hindrance.

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