Tirupati, April 17 : Polling for the high-octane Scheduled Castes-reserved Tirupati Lok Sabha by-poll started off on a smooth note on Saturday, an official in the Andhra Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer’s (CEO) office confirmed.
“Polling started at 7 a.m.and will last till 7 p.m.,” the official told IANS.
As many as 17.1 lakh voters are expected to exercise their franchise in 2,470 polling stations.
Voters above 80 years have been extended the postal ballot facility.
There are 22,743 voters above 80 years age, including 216 third gender voters.
M.Gurumoorthy from the ruling Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP), Panabaka Lakshmi (TDP) and Ratna Prabha (BJP) are among the 25 contestants competing for the seat.
Of the seven Assembly constituencies, Tirupati, Srikalahasti and Satyavedu are from Chittoor district and Sarvepalli, Guduru, Sullurupeta and Venkatagiri from Nellore district.
According to the CEO’s office, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has exempted village and ward volunteers from poll duties.
Twenty-three companies of central forces will provide security for the smooth conduct of the by-poll.
Authorities have identified 877 polling stations as sensitive, which will be guarded by the Central forces, even as 37 flying squad teams have also been deployed for the election.
Web casting facility has also been arranged in 1,241 centres.
All coronavirus precautions are being followed as part of the by-poll.
The ECI has appointed three observers for the by-poll: Dinesh Patil as ordinary observer, Rajeev Kumar (police observer) and Anand Kumar.
Similarly, 816 micro-observers have been appointed.
Nearly 570 buses have been arranged for the poll staff.
The by-poll has been necessitated due to the demise of Tirupati YSRCP MP Balli Durga Prasad in 2020 due to Covid-19.
All eyes in the state are on the by-poll, which the YSRCP has taken as a referendum, including the BJP, Janasena and TDP pinning high hopes on it.