Fifty per cent polling was reported till 2 pm in the by-elections to one Lok Sabha constituency and 18 Assembly segments in Andhra Pradesh amidst stray incidents of violence in some areas including Kadapa, the parliamentary constituency of arrested YSR chief Jaganmohan Reddy.
There were also reports of voters boycotting the poll process in nine villages.
With the weather cooling down, voters queued up in good numbers at polling booths from 7 am.
State Chief Electoral Officer Bhanwar Lal said fifty per cent voting was reported on an average in these constituencies till 2 pm.
Workers of YSR Congress, Telugu Desam and Congress reportedly clashed at a few polling booths while a woman voter, waiting to cast her vote in a polling booth at Ongole, died of cardiac arrest.
In Rayachoti constituency in Kadapa district, stones were pelted at the local TDP leader’s house leading to some tension.
In Railway Kodur in Kadapa district, clashes were reported between YSR and Congress workers.
War of words between YSR congress and Congress resulted in stone pelting, in which three persons sustained minor injuries and polling was stalled for two hours in the polling station. Police rushed to the polling booth and dispersed the mob.
Police also kept MLC B ChengalRayulu at Kodur under house arrest.
Also, YSR Congress leaders Janakiramaiah and Subba Reddy were arrested while they were allegedly distributing money to lure the voters on the polling day at Madhavaram village in Siddhavatam mandal, the police said.
In the Polavaram ST Assembly segment, voters were reportedly boycotting the poll process in nine villages seeking solution to their long-pending problems. In Nellore Lok Sabha constituency also, people are boycotting elections in two villages.
The elections are considered crucial as they are expected to have a bearing on the future of YSR chief Jaganmohan Reddy, who has been arrested in connection with a disproportionate assets case.
Two polling officials were suspended in booth No. 60 in Ongole as they were caught on camera allegedly influencing voters to cast their ballot for a particular party.
There was a controversy in Narsannapet constituency where the YSRC candidate Dharmana Krishna Das allegedly cast his vote ten minutes before the polling process started at 8 am.
However, the state Chief Electoral Officer after obtaining a report from the Srikakulam district authorities, clarified that Das had indeed cast his vote right at 8 AM as soon as the polling process began.
In Tirupati, there was a clash between polling agents of YSR and Congress. There were reports that voters were prevented from exercising their franchise as they did not have a valid identity card or voters’ slip.
“Only those carrying an Elector’s Photo Identity Card or the voter’s slip issued by the Election Commission are being allowed to cast their vote,” Chittoor district Collector Solomon Arokia Raj clarified.
In Ramachandrapuram and Narsapuram constituencies too minor scuffle broke out between workers of major parties but police swung into action to avert trouble, official sources here said.
Besides, polling was stopped for sometime in Ramchandrapuram(SC) constituency of East Godavari district after some problem was detected in EVMs. Later, they were replaced with new EVMs.
In Parkal constituency in Warangal district, police used batons to prevent a clash between workers of YSR and TRS, reports reaching here said. This led to a protest by villagers and polling was held up for a few minutes early in the day.
“Polling has been by and large peaceful at all places and there is no trouble anywhere,” Lal said.
It was observed through live web casting of polling process that two persons went near the polling compartment in Prakasam district and the Collector has been asked to furnish a report over the incident, Bhanwar Lal said.
Also, there were reports of minor skirmishes between YSR Congress and TDP in Prathipadu village in Guntur. Police intervened and restored order there.
The polling is being held at 5,413 polling stations in the constituencies spread over 12 districts of Andhra Pradesh