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Voters queued up in good numbers on Thursday across Telangana to seal the fate of nearly 2,500 MLA aspirants in the polling being held for 119 Assembly segments in the state, where the BRS aims to retain power for a third time while the Congress is keen to upset the ruling party's chances.
The BJP, also keen on forming its first government in the southern state, has left no stone unturned to ensure victory and had deployed a battery of national leaders and Chief Ministers of the saffron-party ruled states to reach out to the public during the 50-day long campaigning.
As many as 2,290 contestants are in the fray, including chief minister KCR, his minister-son K T Rama Rao, state Congress president A Revanth Reddy and BJP Lok Sabha members Bandi Sanjay Kumar and D Arvind.
Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and his wife K Shobha voted in Chinramadaka village in Siddipet district. Union Minister and state BJP president G Kishan Reddy, BRS Working President Rama Rao, his sister and party MLC K Kavitha and AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi were among the early voters after polling began at 7 AM. Film personalities including Chiranjeevi and Allu Arvind also cast their votes.
BRS has fielded candidates in all 119 seats. Allies BJP and Janasena are contesting in 111 and 8 seats, respectively, while Congress is fighting from 118 seats and has given one seat to CPI.
Top national leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, besides KCR addressed a number of meetings and held roadshows during the campaigning, indicating the prestige invested by the respective parties in the electoral battle that comes months ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
Kavitha, daughter of CM Rao, cast her vote in Banjara Hills. "I sincerely request everybody in Telangana to come out and exercise their right. Because when you vote you have the right to question us. When you vote, you can hold the politicians accountable," she said.
Owaisi, who voted at a school in Rajendranagar Assembly constituency, also urged the the voters to exercise their franchise. "We are hopeful that we will do well. Now it is for the people to come out to vote in thousands and lakhs and exercise the right to vote so that you reward those candidates and parties who have been working for you, who have great concern for you," he said.