Hyderabad: Braving the scorching sun, about 30 per cent of 13.82 lakh voters Sunday had cast their vote by noon in seven assembly constituencies of Andhra Pradesh, including six in the Telangana region, an official said.
Enthusiasm among voters marked the polling which began amid tight security at 8 am in five districts.
The results will decide the fate of 67 candidates belonging to various political parties. To escape the intense heat, voters formed long queues since early morning outside several polling stations in the constituencies.
Barring minor incidents, polling remained peaceful.
Police in Station Ghanpur constituency in Warangal district booked Congress leader and MP S Rajaiah for alleged violation of poll code. He was booked under Section 151 of the Code of Criminal Procedure for camping in the constituency despite orders from the election authorities to all non-locals to leave.
In Nagarkurnool constituency in Mahabubnagar district, supporters of former minister and independent candidate N Janardahana Reddy clashed with activists of the ruling Congress party. About 20 people were arrested.
Voters in Purandapuram village in Kovur constituency of Nellore district boycotted the polling as the authorities failed to solve their civic problems.
The seven constituencies are Adilabad (Adilabad district), Kamareddy (Nizamabad), Station Ghanpur (Warangal), Mahabubnagar, Kollapur, Nagarkurnool (Mahabubnagar) and Kovur (Nellore).
The by-polls are a result of vacancies that arose due to the resignations of two legislators of the Congress party, one of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), three rebels of the TDP and the death of one independent legislator.
Unlike the previous by-elections, lack of the Telangana sentiment this time has made the going tough for Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) in the six constituencies that fall in the region.
About 10,000 policemen and polling personnel were deployed for smooth and peaceful conduct of the polling at 1,660 polling centres.
Electronic voting machines (EVM) are being used for the polling, which will continue till 5 pm.
Chief Electoral Officer Bhanwar Lal said senior poll officers are monitoring the polling process at all centres through webcasting.
Majority of the assembly constituencies are witnessing triangular contests among the ruling Congress, the TDP and TRS.
At Kovur assembly constituency in Nellore district, the contest is among the Congress, YSR Congress and the TDP. The YSR Party is staying away from the polls in Telangana.
Two legislators each of the Congress and the TDP had resigned to join the TRS. Senior TDP leader N. Janardhan Reddy resigned over the demand for a separate Telangana state and is seeking re-election as an independent from Nagarkurnool in Mahabubnagar district. Both TRS and BJP are extending support to him.
Another TDP rebel Prasanna Kumar Reddy quit from Kovur to join YSR Congress party. The fledgling outfit is going all out to win this seat, as it will be major test for the party ahead of another round of by-polls.
The Assembly speaker earlier this month disqualified 16 Congress rebels, who switched loyalties to the YSR Party. He also accepted the resignation of a legislator of Praja Rajyam Party (PRP), who had also joined the YSR party floated by YS Jaganmohan Reddy, son of late chief minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy.