Polling was underway amid tight security across Telangana to elect a new state legislative Assembly on Thursday. Long queues were seen at some polling stations when the voting began at 7 a.m.

Despite the early morning chill, voters lined up to cast their votes in all 119 Assembly constituencies. Technical snags in electronic voting machines were reported from a few places but authorities swiftly arranged alternate machines.

A little over 3.26 crore voters will decide the political fortunes of 2,290 candidates. The Election Commission of India has made elaborate arrangements for polling at 35,655 polling stations spread across 33 districts.

Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Vikas Raj, who was among the early voters in Hyderabad, said the polling was progressing in a smooth and peaceful manner.

Polling underway in Telangana with voter enthusiasmIANS

Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) leader K. Kavitha, former Indian cricket captain and Congress candidate from Jubilee Hills, Mohammed Azharuddin, actors Chiranjeevi, Venkatesh and Allu Arjun were among the early voters in Hyderabad.

More than 1.85 lakh polling personnel have been deployed while 22,000 micro observers were monitoring the polling process across the state. Authorities have arranged web casting at 27,094 polling stations across the state.

The Election Commission has made special arrangements for PwD (Person with Disability) voters at all polling stations. It has arranged 21,686 wheelchairs for them.

A total of 45,000 personnel from state police, 3,000 from other departments, 50 companies of Telangana State Special Police (TSSP) and 375 companies of the central paramilitary forces have been deployed as part of the massive security arrangements to ensure free and fair polls. The CEO said 23,500 homeguards from neighbouring states were also deployed.

Polling will end at 5 p.m. However, in 13 constituencies in Maoist influence districts, polling will conclude at 4 p.m.

Telangana Poll
Telangana Poll campaignIANS

Election authorities have arranged a total of 72,931 ballot units or EVMs. Of them 59,779 will be deployed at polling stations while the remaining will be kept in reserve for replacement. A total of 2,290 candidates, including 221 women and one transgender, are in the fray.

BRS and Congress are locked in a tough battle for power in India's youngest state. While BRS is aiming for a third consecutive term in power, Congress is confident of forming the first government in a state which it claims to have carved out.

BRS is contesting all 119 seats on its own. Congress has left one seat for its ally Communist Party of India (CPI). BJP is the third major contestant in the fray and it may impact the outcome by cutting into anti-incumbency votes.

The BJP has fielded candidates in 111 constituencies and left the remaining eight for its ally Jana Sena Party (JSP) led by actor-politician Pawan Kalyan.

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is contesting all the seats on its own. AIMIM, a friendly party of BRS, has fielded candidates in nine constituencies, all in Hyderabad. In the rest of the state, it has declared support to BRS.

Telangana Polls: BRS Announces 115 Candidates, KCR To Contest From Two Seats
Telangana Polls: BRS Announces 115 Candidates, KCR To Contest From Two SeatsIANS

Chief Minister and BRS president K. Chandrasekhar Rao is contesting from Gajwel and Kamareddy constituencies. State Congress chief A. Revanth Reddy is contesting from Kamareddy and Kodangal.

The other prominent candidates include BRS working president IT minister K.T. Rama Rao (Sircilla), finance minister T. Harish Rao (Siddipet), Congress leader and former Indian cricket captain Mohammed Azharuddin (Jubilee Hills), Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka (Wyra), former TPCC president Uttam Kumar Reddy (Huzurnagar), BJP leader and former minister Eatala Rajender (Huzurabad and Gajwel), BJP General Secretary Bandi Sanjay Kumar (Karimnagar) and AIMIM leader Akbaruddin Owaisi (Chandrayangutta).

(With inputs from IANS)