Jaipur/Hyderabad: Polling ended in Rajasthan and Telangana on Friday in a high-stakes battle, the results of which along with those in three other states can be a pointer to which way the wind is blowing ahead of next year's general elections.
About 70 per cent of 2.8 voters votes in the Telangana Assembly election on Friday as the polling ended on a peaceful note, barring minor incidents.
Polling ended in 106 constituencies at 5 pm but those standing in queues were allowed to cast their votes. The exact poll percentage will be known after receipt of detailed reports from the districts, officials said in Hyderabad.
Some 56.17 per cent voters had voted by 3 p.m.
Polling ended in 13 constituencies affected by Maoist violence at 4 p.m,
This is the first full-fledged election in India's youngest election. In the 2014 elections held in united Andhra Pradesh, Telangana had registered a voter turnout of 68.9 percent.
The polling, which began on a dull note at 7 am, picked up after 9. Long queues of voters including women were seen especially in rural areas.
Chief Electoral Officer Rajath Kumar said barring sporadic incidents, the polling was peaceful and smooth in all 32,815 polling stations across 31 districts.
In some polling centres, the process started late due to technical glitches in Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).
Of the total electorate, nearly half are women. There were 1,821 candidates, including Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao and his 14 cabinet colleagues.
Congress candidate Vamshichand Reddy was injured in stone pelting by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers in Nagarkurnool district. He was admitted to a hospital.
Tension prevailed in Kodangal constituency where the midnight arrest of Congress Working President Revanth Reddy on December 4 had triggered a huge row, leading to transfer of Vikarabad District Superintendent of Police by the Election Commission.
Voters at several places complained that their names were missing from the voters' list. Some voters staged protests after officials did not allow them to exercise their franchise in the absence of voter slips.
Prominent people whose names were missing from the voter's list include family members of Finance Minister E Rajender. Shuttler Jwala Gutta tweeted that her name was missing from the list.
Many celebrities including superstar Chiranjeevi, Nagarjuna, Junior NTR, tennis star Sania Mirza and ace shuttler P V Sindhu voted but this failed to enthuse the voters as overall turnout remained less than 40 per cent by 3 pm.
Chief Minister and Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) President cast his vote in his village in Siddipet district and exuded confidence that his party will retain power with a huge majority.
Over 50,000 security personnel, including 18,860 from neighbouring states and central forces, were deployed as part of the security arrangements.
Over 1.50 lakh polling personnel were on duty to conduct the polling process. As many as 55,329 EVMs and 39,763 control units were in use.
For the first time, Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) were installed across the state.
Counting of votes will be taken up on December 11.
It is expected to be a close contest between the ruling TRS, which contested all seats on its own, and the Congress-led People's Front that includes Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Communist Party of India and Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS).
The BJP was the third key force in some constituencies. The Bahujan Left Front led by the Communist Party of India-Marxist and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) also contested majority of the seats.
The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) contested eight seats in Hyderabad.
The TRS opted for dissolution of the Assembly in September, eight months before its term was to end.
Over 72 per cent of the 4.74 crore registered voters had cast their vote by 5 pm in Rajasthan where elections were held Friday for 199 of the 200 assembly seats.
Polling was set to end at 5 pm but officials said those already in the queue at the booths by then were being allowed to vote.
The voting percentage till this time was 72.37, according to the Election Commission website.
Polling began at 51,687 booths across the state began at 8 am and was largely peaceful, officials said.
Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, Pradesh Congress Committee chief Sachin Pilot and other leaders were among those who exercised their franchise.
Raje (Jhalrapatan), Pilot (Tonk), former chief minister Ashok Gehlot (Sardarpura) are among the 2,274 candidates in the fray.
The election in Ramgarh constituency of Alwar district was put off following the death of Bahujan Samaj Party candidate Laxman Singh.
The results will be out on December 11, along with those from the other four states which saw Assembly elections in the past few weeks.
Raje, who is the BJP's chief ministerial candidate, is fighting against veteran BJP leader Jaswant Singh's son Manvendra Singh in Jhalrapatan, the constituency she has represented since 2003.
Manvendra Singh switched to the Congress just before the election, making the fight tougher for Raje this time. She had won 63 per cent of the votes cast in 2013, winning the seat by a margin of 60,896.
Tonk, with a sizeable Muslim population, is a keenly-watched contest between Sachin Pilot and BJP candidate and Rajasthan Transport Minister Yoonus Khan, who is the saffron party's only Muslim face in the elections.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had initially fielded sitting MLA Ajit Singh Mehta in Tonk. But in a change of strategy, the party dropped him and sent Khan to take on Pilot.
This is a maiden assembly election for Pilot, a two-time MP who is seen as a chief ministerial possibility if the Congress wins. He has represented Dausa and Ajmer Lok Sabha constituencies in the past.
In about 130 constituencies, the contest appears to be mainly between the BJP and the Congress.
In the current House, the BJP has 160 seats and the Congress 25. Counting of votes will take place on December 11 along with four other states - Mizoram, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Telangana.