Counting of the votes cast in Tuesday's Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) municipal polls began on Friday amid tight security.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is leading in 76 seats while the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) in 31 seats. As per initial trends, BJP was leading in 11 seats while TRS in five seats.
Counting of the votes cast in all 150 divisions began at 8 a.m. at 30 places in the city with the Telangana State Election Commission deploying over 8,000 personnel. Since paper ballots were used in the elections, the results are likely be known only late in the evening. Postal ballots were first taken up for counting. The authorities have arranged 150 counting halls with 14 tables in each hall.
State Election Commissioner C. Parthasarthy said a counting supervisor and two assistants were deployed at each table. Police have made elaborate security arrangements in the city in view of the counting. Prohibitory orders and traffic restrictions were imposed around counting centres. Hyderabad, Cyberabad and Rachakonda police have imposed a ban on victory rallies for the next 48 hours.
Out of a total 74.67 lakh voters, 46.55 per cent has cast their votes in 149 divisions on Tuesday. Polling in one division was stopped due to discrepancy in ballot paper and re-poll was held on Thursday.
The day will decide the political fortunes of 1,122 candidates
The day will decide the political fortunes of 1,122 candidates. The bitterly contested elections saw a high-decibel campaign with the participation of several central ministers and top national leaders of the BJP.
Union Ministers Amit Shah, Prakash Javadekar, Smriti Irani; BJP president J.P. Nadda and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath have campaigned for the BJP, which fought hard to wrest the key municipal body from ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS).
Congress, Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) were among the other major contesting parties. The campaign saw no-hold-barred attack by political opponents. Remarks by some leaders created controversies.
The promise by BJP leaders to change the name of Hyderabad to Bhagyanagar if the party voted to power also sparked a row. In the 2016 elections, TRS had captured GHMC with a landslide majority of 99 in 150-member body. The MIM was the second-largest party with 44 seats, while the BJP was distant with only four seats.