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Rediff.com  » Election » AP: 1 killed, dozens injured as violence mars Phase 2

AP: 1 killed, dozens injured as violence mars Phase 2

April 23, 2009 21:58 IST
Scorching summer heat not withstanding heavy turnout of more than 70% of the voters marked the second and last phase of polling in 20 Lok Sabha and 140 assembly constituency of Andhra Pradesh on Thursday.

Despite the unprecedented security arrangements involving more than 60,000 personnel of state police and the paramilitary forces, the polling was marred by large scale violence across several districts in which one person was killed and more than 50 were injured, mostly in clashes between the workers of the ruling Congress party and the main opposition Telugu Desam Party.

The Additional Director General of Police Abdul Khayyum Khan said in Hyderabad that as many as 17 incidents of violence were reported on Thursday, mostly from Rayala Seema region including Kadapa and Pulivendula, the home turf of the Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy.

The Chief Electoral Officer I V Subba Rao ordered the repoll at as many 39 polling stations in six districts. He said the elections were by and large peaceful.

All eyes were focused on Kadapa, where CM's son YS Jaganmohan Reddy is contesting for the Lok Sabha and Pulivendula. Despite heavy security arrangements there were incidents of forcing the polling agents of other parties out of the polling stations in the VIP constituency. Clashes were reported between the Congress and the TDP workers at many places in Pulivendula including the Chakraipet mandal which left several people injured.

The president of Election Watch, an NGO, K J Rao after monitoring the polling in Pulivendula constituency said that at many polling booths there were election agents of only the Congress party.

One person was killed and 14 others were injured in Perayaialapalem village in Addankki assembly constituency of Prakasham district after the Congress and the TDP workers clashed with stones. The victim died after he was taken to hospital with a head injury.

Another major incident of violence was reported from Mydukur assembly constituency in Kadapa where the police had to open thirty rounds of fire in the air to bring the situation under control.

The trouble started when the Congress candidate DL Ravindra Reddy and the son of his rival Telugu Desam candidate had a heated argument and it led to clashes in which crude bombs were also thrown. The Congress workers also threw country made bombs in Chapadu mandal to create terror among the voters.

The polling in Kuppam constituency of Chittoor, where TDP president Chandrababu Naidu was contesting, passed off peacefully. In the temple town of Tirupati where film star-turned-politician and Praja Rajyam Party president Chiranjeevi was contesting, tension prevailed at some places since the clash between Congress and TDP workers on Wednesday evening.

In Darsi constituency of Prakasham district, the police foiled the attempt of women workers of PRP to take away the electronic voting machine alleging that the Congress workers were trying to bribe the voters. The police later arrested the women.

In Repalle constituency of Guntur district, the police put the two main rival candidates -- Minister for Sports M Venkataramana Rao of Congress and A Satyaprasad of TDP -- under house arrest for the duration of the polling. The police said action was taken at the direction of the Election Commission after they received complaints that they were indulging in irregularities at the polling stations.

In Kadapa and the neighbouring Kurnool districts the people had lined up at the polling stations right from the morning. The women voters had largely outnumbered men at many places and voted enthusiastically.

Incident of boycott of elections by the voters were also reported from different places in Kurnool and West Godavari district. In Kurnool the residents of two villages boycotted the polls to protest against the lack of drinking water supply and road facility; but people in Bhimavaram mandal of West Godavari boycotted the election on not getting the money from the Congress leaders.

When one of the villagers Narasimha Raju went to the Congress office demanding money he was beaten up. Angered over this the villagers boycotted the poll.

Violence level during the second phase was much larger than the first phase on April 16 when only one incident of violence was reported.

Mohammed Siddique in Kadapa