The high-voltage bypoll at Telangana’s Munugode Assembly seat is also the most-watched election ever: CCTVs have been deployed across the constituency and polling at every booth is being monitored through webcast.
In an exclusive chat with NDTV, the state’s Chief Electoral Officer Vikas Raj said the arrangements were brought in the light of allegations of electoral malpractices in the constituency, which is hosting a prestige battle between the ruling TRS and the BJP.
As many as 48 CCTV cameras are in place for the bypoll. The polling process will be webcasted in 298 police stations, the central police control room in the district, the state headquarters and also at the Election Commission’s office, he said. A team of seven IT officers is in place to ensure the system operates seamlessly, he said.
The polling officer said a record number of teams have been put in place to crack down on any irregularity. Cash worth Rs 8 crore and 5,000 litres of liquor have been seized in the run-up to the polls, he said, adding that 128 people have been tasked to just check the movement of illicit liquor.
He said there were reports of payments through digital modes but intelligence did not find a trail.
Fourteen teams are monitoring compliance to the model code of conduct and 14 flying squads, two in every mandal, are on the ground, he said.
The Munugode seat in Nalgonda district has turned into a prestige battle between the BJP and the TRS. At its centre is BJP candidate Komatireddy Raj Gopal Reddy.
Mr Reddy had earlier contested the Assembly election from Munugode on a Congress ticket and won. He then switched to the BJP, paving the way for the bypoll.
The K Chandrashekar Rao-led TRS has alleged that Mr Reddy joined the BJP after his family-owned company won a Rs 18,000 crore coal mining contract from the central government. The BJP leader has denied the allegation.
On the last day of campaign, the intense rivalry between the BJP and TRS played out in a clash between party workers.
CEO Vikas Raj said more than 500 complaints have been filed in connection with the clash and they are being investigated by 51 teams. A total of 185 cases have been registered and 90 arrests madem he said.