NELLORE: As many as 64.27 per cent of the 2.11 lakh electorate in the Atmakur Assembly constituency exercised their right to franchise in the by-election held on Thursday. The polling was peaceful, barring stray incidents of heated arguments between the agents of the main contenders, the YSRC and BJP. The votes would be taken up for counting at Atmakur Engineering College in Nellorepalem on June 26, Sunday.
The voter turnout was poor compared to the 2019 general elections when 82.44 per cent of the electorate had cast their votes. The bypoll was necessitated following the demise of the sitting YSRC MLA and former minister, Mekapati Goutham Reddy, in February.
The total number of votes polled was 1,36,905, including 69,397 women voters, and 208 postal ballots, officials said. In 2019, as many as 1,72,288 voters had exercised their franchise. Political pundits attributed the low turnout to TDP’s decision against fielding its candidate. The TDP decided against contesting the poll in accordance with its policy not to challenge the kin of any deceased MLA in the bypoll.
The polling commenced at 7 am, and in the first two hours, on average, 11.56 per cent of votes were polled in all 279 polling stations. Short queues were seen at most polling stations in Atmakur town and also in rural areas by 10 am. The polling percentage increased to 24.92 per cent by 11 am, and by 1 pm, around 44.14 per cent of voters had cast their votes. It increased to 54.66 per cent by 3 pm. With just one hour left at 5 pm, 61.70 per cent of voters had turned up at the stations.