After more than a week of high voltage campaign, Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) elections begins at 7am on December 1.
In this civic body polls, a total of 1,122 candidates are contesting across 150 divisions that are spread over four districts. The fates of the candidates will be decided by over 74 lakh eligible voters who will take part in this intensely fought civic polls between the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which is trying to make inroads in the southern state.
AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi and Telangana minister KT Rama Rao were among the early voters this morning. Voting will continue till 6 PM.
Till 11 a.m., the voter turnout witnessed in the Greater Hyderabad municipal elections on Tuesday was poor as only 8.9 per cent voters had cast their votes.
This is one of the most bitterly fought municipal elections ever in Hyderabad as the BJP flew in national leaders like Union Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP president JP Nadda and UP CM Yogi Adityanath who have campaigned in this polls.
In the election camping, the issues have gone beyond basic civic infrastructure to whether Hyderabad name could be changed to Bhagyanagar, which UP CM Adityanath said at an election rally. BJP Bangalore South MP Tejasvi Surya also made divisive remarks while taking on the TRS and the AIMIM. He has been charged for entering the Osmania University without permission in his campaign for the city civic polls.
In the last GHMC elections in February 2016, ruling TRS had won 99 seats, whereas AIMIM had won 44 seats, BJP got four, Congress won two and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) won one seat.
The polling percentage has been lower in the civic polls as compared to the state elections with just 45 per cent voters turnout. In 2009, the voting percentage was 43 per cent and in 2016 it was 46 per cent.
In the municipal elections, this time around heavy security has been deployed at 9,101 polling stations and the state police have been cautioned about some elements trying to disturb peace and incite trouble.
Around 50,00 police personnel have been deployed on ground amidst rumours of cash and liquor distribution. The campaign ended on November 29 at 6 p.m.
The state Election Commissioner C Parthasarathy said that precautions and all cover norms have been put in place and wearing masks at the polling station is compulsory. All the stations have been disinfected and sanitisers have been provided at every booth.
According to official data the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) area has 63 containment zones. In 1700 polling booths only 800-1,000 voters are allowed instead of the earlier limit of 1,400.
In the civic body polls, ballot papers are being used instead of Electronic Voting Machines(EVMs). Elderly and women with children need not wait in queues. There is no provision for online voting though postal ballots are allowed.
The GHMC was formed by merging 12 12 municipalities and eight gram panchayats with Municipal Corporation of Hyderabad (MCH) in 2007.