Amaravati: Two party workers, including one belonging to the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP), were killed in a clash on Thursday while technical problems in EVMs hampered the poll process in some booths, as 41% polling was recorded till 1 pm for the 25 Lok Sabha and 175 Assembly seats in Andhra Pradesh.
State Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Gopal Krishna Dwivedi said there were some glitches in the functioning of 381 Electronic Voting Machines which were rectified subsequently.
Police said a TDP worker and another belonging to the main opposition YSR Congress were killed on Thursday in a poll-related group clash in Anantapuram district of Andhra Pradesh.
The clash occurred at Veerapuram village under Tadipatri Assembly constituency in the afternoon.
The deceased have been identified as Pulla Reddy of YSR Congress party and Sidda Bhaskar Reddy of the TDP, according to police sources.
TDP president and chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu condemned the killing of his party worker and accused the YSR Congress of indulging in violence to win the election.
The YSRC alleged that followers of local TDP MP and MLA, the JC brothers (MP J.C. Diwakar Reddy and MLA, J.C. Prabhakar Reddy), tried to rig the votes in a polling booth at Veerapuram.
Another YSRC worker was also injured in the incident, the party alleged in a statement.
Additional police forces have been rushed to the village to bring the situation under control.
Clashes broke out between workers of TDP and YSR Congress at various places in the state as voting got underway.
In Guntakal, former MLA and contesting candidate of Jana Sena Party, Madhusudan Gupta, smashed an EVM in a fit of rage alleging that party symbols were not properly printed on the ballot unit.
He also shouted at the polling personnel on duty. Gupta was immediately taken into custody, police said.
A mandal parishad member of YSRC was seriously injured when TDP workers allegedly attacked him at a polling station in Eluru city.
In Jammalamadugu in Kadapa district, tensions prevailed in Ponnathota village as YSRC and TDP workers indulged in stone-throwing.
In Narsaraopet constituency in Guntur district, YSRC leaders alleged TDP men ransacked a polling station in Yelamanda village and damaged the furniture.
Police personnel were also preventing YSRC sympathisers from entering into the polling booth, they alleged.
Minor trouble was also reported at a few other constituencies in Guntur, Prakasam and Anantapuramu districts as well but neither the election authorities nor the police confirmed the reports.
Chief Electoral Officer Dwivedi, however, said polling was going on peacefully across the state.
In a statement, the CEO asked people not to believe in rumours as the poll process was going on peacefully. He said the technical defects in EVMs, reported from various places, have been rectified.
Chandrababu Naidu and his family members exercised their franchise at a polling station in Undavalli village in state capital region Amaravati. His son Nara Lokesh, incidentally, is the TDP candidate from Mangalagiri Assembly segment that covers Undavalli.
Talking to reporters, the Chief Minister referred to technical glitches in EVMs and said he was demanding that ballot papers be re-introduced. “No developed country is using EVMs as they are prone to manipulation. We have hence been demanding that we revert to the ballot paper system,” Naidu said.
YSR Congress president Y S Jaganmohan Reddy cast his vote in his native Pulivendula in Kadapa district, from where he is seeking re-election.
Jana Sena president Pawan Kalyan exercised his franchise in Vijayawada.State Chief Secretary L.V. Subrahmanyam also cast his vote in Vijayawada. The CEO cast his vote in Tadepalli. Interestingly, the VVPAT machine did not function when he voted.
This is the first general election in the state after bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh and creation of Telangana in June 2014.