By Express News Service

VIJAYAWADA: Polling for the keenly contested urban local body elections was held peacefully on Wednesday, barring stray incidents of clashes between the ruling and opposition party workers. The contestants and the political parties will have to wait till March 14 for the results as their fortunes were now sealed in ballot boxes.

The election of Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Municipal Corporations and Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson of Municipalities and Nagar Panchayats will be held at the earliest after the declaration of results.According to the State Election Commission (SEC), 57.14 per cent voter turnout was recorded in the municipal corporations. Ongole recorded the highest turnout of 75.52 per cent, while the lowest polling of 49.26 per cent was reported in Kurnool. 

Guntur and Visakhapatnam, where the ruling YSRC and opposition TDP made all out efforts to emerge victorious, recorded 57.15 and 56.01 per cent voting. When it comes to municipalities, 70.66 per cent voting was recorded. The highest turnout of 85.98 per cent was reported in Gudur K, while the lowest polling of 50.05 per cent was recorded in Adoni.

Unlike in municipalities, the electorate in the cities, particularly in Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada, did not turn up at the polling stations in large numbers. Many voters preferred to cast their vote in the early hours of the day. Elderly people and young voters alike waited in queues in the initial hours of polling. After 10 am, several polling stations wore a deserted look. 

Governor Biswabhusan Harichandan, Jana Sena Party chief Pawan Kalyan were among those who cast their vote in Vijayawada, while YSRC MP V Vijayasai Reddy exercised his franchise in Vizag.Stray incidents of violence and clashes between rival parties were witnessed at some places of the State. In Guntur, the vehicle of former MP and YSRC leader Modugula Venugopala Reddy was allegedly attacked by TDP men.

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Police immediately dispersed the clashing groups and brought the situation under control. Police personnel were seen helping the elderly and physically challenged people at polling stations to exercise their franchise.

State Election Commissioner N Ramesh Kumar, in a statement, said the urban local body elections were held in a free and fair manner barring a few stray incidents. “However, as in the case of the earlier gram panchayat elections, there are no serious incidents necessitating repolling. This is the first time that panchayat as well as municipal elections could be held without repolling,’’ the SEC said.

However, Ramesh Kumar stated that the SEC is not going to  take the instances of violence lightly and it has sought reports from collectors and Superintendents of Police. “Instances of ward volunteers participating in elections at some places are taken note of and in terms of the High Court order, explanations will be called before initiating action in this regard,’’ the SEC said.The voter turnout was more in municipalities when compared to municipal corporations in the State. A total of 12 municipal corporations and 71 municipalities went to polls, the SEC added.

Alla Nani’s name missing in voters’ list in Eluru 
Deputy Chief Minister (Health) Alla Kali Krishna Srinivas (Nani) was in for a rude shock when he found his name missing from the voters’ list of Eluru Municipal Corporation on Wednesday 

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