Amid post-poll violence, Andhra Pradesh braces for counting with heavy security; TDP, YSRCP express confidence

The YSRCP and the TDP-Jana Sena-BJP alliance have set up war rooms to monitor minute-to-minute reports from the ground.

ByBhaskar Basava

Published Jun 03, 2024 | 7:25 PMUpdatedJun 03, 2024 | 7:25 PM

EVMs are secured in strongrooms, and they will be taken out on the date of counting. In picture, polling officials storing EVMs in a strongroom in Telangana's Warangal. (ECI Website)

In the wake of post-poll violence in Andhra Pradesh, the Election Commission (EC) and police officials plan to complete counting of the votes polled for the simultaneous elections for the state Assembly and Lok Sabha by 6 pm on 4 June.

The elections were held in the state on 13 May during the fourth phase of polling for the Lok Sabha elections 2024.

The district police officials have issued prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC on the counting day to curtail provocations.

In a press meet on Monday, 3 June, Andhra Pradesh Director General of Police (DGP) Harish Kumar Gupta directed party cadres to restrain from posting challenges or abuses against political rivals.

Also Read: YSRCP MLA accused of vandalising EVM barred from entering counting station

Final result expected by 9 pm

Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Mukesh Kumar Meena shared that the counting will start at 8 am and may be completed by 6 pm, with the final results expected by 9 pm.

He added that in addition to Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) in force, 45,000 state police, 67 CRPF companies with around 6500 personnel have been deployed to maintain law and order.

“Around 1,985 troublesome areas have been identified across the state, and 12,000 people have been identified and bound over. In 1,200 locations, carton searches have been conducted, and around 4,000 illegal vehicles have been seized,” Meena noted.

Even as the arrangements are underway, TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu reached the party’s central office in Mangalgiri and asked the cadre to wait until Tuesday to celebrate.

Many exit polls have predicted a victory for the TDP, Jana Sena and BJP alliance in Andhra Pradesh.

Meanwhile, the YSRCP state general secretary appealed to the cadre to be ready for celebrations.

Leaders of both parties exuded confidence in winning.

Also Read: Ground Report: Macherla where politics reeks of blood and flesh

YSRCP sets up a war room

When asked about the party’s steps towards peaceful arrangements, YSRCP general secretary and MLC Lella Appi Reddy told South First that the party cadres are directed not to indulge in any violent activities.

He added that they were instructed to raise any possible disputes with the election commission official.

The party conducted a four-day orientation programme for its polling agents on several queries and ECI guidelines. The party has also set up a central war room to monitor booth-wise developments.

YSRCP national spokesperson K Ravi Chandra Reddy shared that any disturbances or manipulations would be addressed by raising it with the ECI until amicable solutions are reached.

“We are ready to celebrate, and anything that comes in between is left to the ECI. High security has been ensured in Palnadu and Tadipatri. We depend on the police and election officials to act in accordance with the law and will avoid all kinds of provocations,” he said.

Read: YSRCP backs Macherla MLA Pinnelli Ramakrishna Reddy, questions ECI

TDP sets up a call centre

In addition to the war room, the TDP has set up a call centre with around 20 people per constituency to monitor minute-by-minute updates on the counting process and related issues.

TDP national spokesperson Jyothsna Tirunagari said that the party has identified bureaucrats and local officials working in favour of the YSRCP.

She claimed that the ECI had taken note of this and transferred or suspended many of them, adding that the TDP believed the counting would proceed more smoothly than the polling, which was marred by violence.

The TDP leader claimed that YSRCP was still appointing individuals with criminal records as their polling agents.

“We have clearly informed our cadre to be vigilant and avoid all kinds of untoward activities and asked them to follow the rules and refrain from violence,” she added.

(Edited by Muhammed Fazil)