Hyderabad: The general excitement and buzz that usually surrounds the voting process in the old city was missing on Tuesday. The fiery 12-day campaign had given hopes of people coming out in large numbers, but polling day turned out to be quite a dampener with extremely low voting percentages.
Several old timers were amused over the poor turnout at polling stations and lack of enthusiasm, given that the older parts of the city usually record high percentages.
In the morning, AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi, who cast his vote at St. Faiz High School in Shastripuram division, had appealed to the public to come out and vote. However, the response was lukewarm.
“There were unconfirmed reports of a huge increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in the city. So many people avoided visiting polling stations,” said Haji Akram Ali, a resident of Falaknuma.
Another reason attributed to the low turnout, according to locals, was the fear of large-scale violence on polling day following provocative speeches by some parties. Women, who stand patiently in long queues but compulsorily cast their votes, appeared to be not much interested this time because of the fear of trouble or clashes.
“A few came along with their families and voted in the morning hours while towards afternoon their numbers declined after reports of skirmishes,” said Anzeruddin, a resident of Sultanshahi.
Reports of minor skirmishes were reported from Azampura, Ghansi Bazaar, Jangammet, Uppuguda, Karwan and Puranapul division in the old city.
In Azampura there was tension following a confrontation between AIMIM workers and MBT leader Amjedullah Khan in the afternoon. Minor scuffles were reported at different polling stations in Azampura division.
At Karwan there were arguments between AIMIM and BJP workers alleging bogus voting in the polling stations. In Jangammet, a similar skirmish between AIMIM and BJP leaders were reported after BJP leader Shehzadi Begum who contested the 2018 Assembly elections tried to speak to voters and check their identity cards. AIMIM leaders objected to her presence resulting in arguments. The police pacified and dispersed both groups. At Aghapura in Jambagh division there was arguments between AIMIM and BJP candidates over bogus voting issues.
The situation was even worse in the flood-affected parts of the old city. Several people complained of losing their important documents in the floods.
Polling stations at the Urooj Model School and the Telangana Minorities Residential School at Al Jubail Colony and Hashamabad wore a deserted look for most part of the day. Election staff and polling agents were seen idling their time while the police were in a relaxed mood.
Usually long queues are seen at the polling stations in the Al Jubail colony, Hashamabad and Hafeez Babanagar areas of the city. “This time overall there is less voter turnout in the city. Al Jubail colony was badly affected by the floods and the people are upset over the response of the local leadership,” a woman resident said.