Hyderabad: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has taken an initial lead as counting of votes polled in Tuesday’s Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) municipal polls was underway Friday amid tight security.
Counting of votes cast in all 150 divisions began at 8 a.m. at 30 places in the city with Telangana State Election Commission deploying over 8,000 personnel.
The BJP established early leads in 69 divisions as postal ballots were taken up for counting before opening the ballot boxes.
The ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) was ahead in 31 divisions and Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) in 10 divisions.
However, this is a very early trend as postal ballots are less than 2,000 in over 34.50 lakh votes polled.
Since paper ballots were used in the elections, the counting process is slow and results are likely be known only late in the evening.
Actual counting of votes is likely to begin as the counting personnel were sorting the ballots and making bundles after opening the ballot boxes.
The authorities have arranged 150 counting halls with 14 tables in each hall.
State Election Commissioner C. Parthasarthy said a counting supervisor and two assistants are deployed at each table.
Police have made elaborate security arrangements in the city in view of the counting.
Prohibitory orders and traffic restrictions were imposed around counting centres.
Hyderabad, Cyberabad and Rachakonda police imposed a ban on victory rallies for next 48 hours.
Out of a total 74.67 lakh voters, 46.55 per cent has cast their votes in 149 divisions on Tuesday. There were 1,925 postal ballots.
Polling in one division was stopped due to discrepancy in ballot paper and re-poll was held on Thursday.
The day will decide political fortunes of 1,122 candidates. The bitterly contested elections saw a high-decibel campaign with the participation of several central ministers and top national leaders of BJP.
Union ministers Amit Shah, Prakash Javadekar and Smriti Irani, BJP president J.P. Nadda and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath campaigned for the BJP, which fought hard to wrest the key municipal body from TRS.
Rge Congress, MIM and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) were among the other major contesting parties.
The campaign saw no-hold-barred attack by political opponents and remarks by some leaders created controversies.
The promise by BJP leaders to change the name of Hyderabad to Bhagyanagar if the party voted to power also sparked a row.
In the 2016 elections, the TRS had captured GHMC with landslide majority of 99 in 150-member body.
MIM was second largest party with 44 seats, while the BJP was a distant with only four seats.