Hyderabad: Telangana State is all set to go to polls on Friday. It is the first exclusive elections for 119 assembly seats in the T state after the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh in 2014. A total of 2,80,747,22 voters will exercise their franchise on the polling day. The voters include 1,41,56,182 men, 1,39,05,811 women, 10,038 service voters and 249 are the NRI voters.Polling will take place from 7 am to 5 pm except in 13 extremist-affected constituencies where the timings will be from 7 am to 4 pm. Serilingampally constituency in Greater Hyderabad has over 5.75 lakh voters, the highest in the state, while Bhadrachalam in Khammam district has least number of voters - 1.37 lakh.Representing several political parties, 1,821 candidates are in fray along with a few independents. Malkajgiri constituency has the highest number of 42 contestants and in Banswada segment, only 6 candidates are in the fray. Congress is contesting in 99 assembly segments, TRS (119), BJP (118), BSP (107), CPI(M- 26,) NCP(22), TDP(13), AIMIM(8) and CPI is fighting in three assembly segments.Telangana Chief Electoral Officer Rajat Kumar said that 44,415 ballot units, 7,557 reserve ballot units, 32,016 control units 4,432 reserve control units and 32,016 VVPATs, 5,261 reserve VVPATs are being used for the polling. Over 240 engineers from BEL/ ECIL, the makers of these machines, will be available, at least one in each constituency to rectify the machines if they develop snags during the polling.The CEO said each of the 32,815 polling stations will be manned by five personnel and one or two constables on an average. Strike/ cracking forces are positioned at strategic points in the State to handle any untoward incidents. Two helicopters will be positioned in the State to airlift men and material wherever required and use them as ambulances following any medical emergency. All the polling booths have come under 100 per cent electronic vigilance. The present election has several firsts in that this is first elections exclusively for Telangana after its formation. For the first time, VVPATs are being used for all the 119 constituencies compared to the last time when these were used experimentally only in the Palair constituency.Also, for the first time, software skills are extensively used for these polls. By downloading c-Vigil, anyone could lodge complaint online against violations, and using Naa Votu, a voter could trace his polling stations, while Suvidha and Sugam, were used as single-window facility to get permission for meetings and utilising vehicles. So far, 8,071 complaints are received through c-Vigil and 5,872 of them disposed of.Alerted by the intelligence inputs, the official said that the Election Commission has made special arrangements in Kodangal Assembly segment from where TPCC working president A Revanth Reddy is contesting the elections. The TRS and Congress groups locked horns against the arrest of Revanth two days ago. Rajat Kumar said that security has been tightened and strict vigilance with paramilitary forces is also maintained at all polling booths.Over 50,000 security personnel, including 18,860 drafted from neighbouring states and central forces were deployed as part of the massive security arrangements. As the Communist Party of India-Maoist has given a call for boycott of elections, the police heightened the vigil in areas bordering Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra.
Poll officials allocating EVMs and material to various election booths from Lal Bahadur Stadium in Hyderabad on Thursday Photo: Srinivas Setty