Hyderabad, Campaigning ended Monday evening for first phase of simultaneous elections to Andhra Pradesh assembly and Lok Sabha.Elections to 119 assembly and 17 Lok Sabha constituencies in all 10 districts of Telangana will be held Wednesday.
About 28.16 million voters are eligible to cast their votes to decide the political fortunes of 265 candidates who are in fray for Lok Sabha polls and 1,669 candidates in assembly constituencies.
On the last day, the leaders of major parties criss-crossed the region in a last minute bid to woo the voters.
Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief K. Chandrasekhara Rao, Congress' Telangana chief Ponnala Lakshmaiah, party's central leaders Digvijaya Singh, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Jairam Ramesh, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief K. Chandrasekhara Rao, film actor Pawan Kalyan, who is supporting BJP-TDP combine and YSR Congress party's president Y.S.Jaganmohan Reddy addressed meetings, rallies or conducted road shows.
At the stroke of 6 p.m., the mikes were off as the political parties and their candidates stopped canvassing. The campaigning ended in three Maoist-affected assembly constituencies at 4 p.m. and in eight constituencies at 5 p.m.
The election authorities banned door to door campaigning by parties and contestants. The electronic media was also barred from telecasting any opinion or exit poll or panel discussion. The Election Commission and police also banned bulk SMSes.
Chief electoral officer (CEO) Bhanwarlal said the television channels should not even telecast election meetings and rallies being held in Seemandhra, which is scheduled to go to polls under the second phase on May 7.
He said all arrangements were being made for smooth and peaceful polling at 30,518 polling centres. There will be live webcasting from 17,000 polling centres to monitor the polling process. Video recording of electioneering will be done at the remaining polling booths.
The poll official directed all outsiders to leave the constituencies. Police will check hotels, lodges and function halls to ensure that outsiders don't camp in the constituencies.
The election authorities have heightened the vigil to prevent attempts by the parties and the contestants to influence the voters through money, liquor, gifts or other means .
Police across the state have so far seized Rs.125 crore unaccounted cash, the highest in the country since the poll scheduled was announced last month. More than 74 kg of gold, 708 kg silver and 4.57 lakh litres of liquor were also seized.
The authorities have banned sale of liquor in Hyderabad and nine other districts of Telangana till completion of polling at 6 p.m. Wednesday.
The government has declared holiday for all government and private companies, offices and institutions on the polling day. The labour department has declared a holiday for all shops and business establishments.
Bhanwarlal said strict action would be taken against those violating the holiday order.