Amaravati, Apr 17 (PTI) The opposition parties, Telugu Desam, BJP and Congress on Saturday demanded that the bypoll to Tirupati(SC) Lok Sabha constituency be cancelled forthwith, alleging that the ruling YSR Congress instigated bogus voting on a large scale, particularly in the temple town Tirupati.
The Election Commission has taken serious note of it and directed the Collectors of Chittoor and SPS Nellore districts to crack down on the bogus voters and ensure a fair poll, Chief Electoral Officer K Vijayanand said in a statement.
State Director General of Police D G Sawang, however, claimed in a statement that the polling process was continuing in a 'peaceful atmosphere' and everybody was exercising their franchise 'fearlessly'.
Polling remained subdued for various reasons, including apparently due to the fear of COVID-19, as only about 17.8 per cent of votes were cast in the first four hours.
It crossed 36per cent after 2 pm, sources in the Election Commission here said.
The contesting candidates of TDP and BJP, Panabaka Lakshmi and K Ratna Prabha, themselves apprehended some bogus voters, carrying fake Voter ID cards in some polling booths in Tirupati and handed them over to police.
Former MLA of Tirupati Sugunamma led a protest near the Tirupati Urban Police Superintendents office after a bus, allegedly carrying several fake voters from other mandals was stopped and several fake ID cards were seized.
Congress candidate Chinta Mohan too alleged that the YSRC brought in thousands of people from other places to cast bogus votes in Tirupati.
State Panchayat Raj Minister P R C Reddy, who was camping in Tirupati, rubbished the opposition charges and maintained that the YSRC need not resort to such tactics as its victory in the by-election was a certainty.
He claimed that those stopped in buses were actually 'pilgrims and tourists' who came to visit the Venkateswara Swamy temple.
Talking to reporters here, TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu lashed out at the ruling party as it made a mockery of democracy.
'Why do we need such elections? Bogus voters were brought into Tirupati in hordes. How did the police allow them?' he asked.
The former Chief Minister also wrote to the CEO, K Vijayanand, seeking immediate action to prevent 'influx of outsiders' into Tirupati and bogus voting. PTI DBV APR ADMINISTRATOR APR ADMINISTRATOR