Hyderabad: The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) extended its lead over the Bharatiya Janata Party and appears to be heading for a win as the counting of votes in Munugode Assembly by-election entered the final phase.
In a neck and neck race, TRS candidate K. Prabhakar Reddy was leading his nearest rival K. Rajagopal Reddy by a margin of 7,440 votes at the end of the 12th round.
With three more rounds to go, the ruling party looks confident of wresting the seat from Congress in the crucial by-election, seen by many as a semifinal ahead of next year’s Assembly polls.
At the end of 12th round, TRS had polled 82,005 votes while BJP secured 74,198 votes. The Congress was at a distant third position with 19,415 votes.
The TRS candidate took a lead in the first round by over 1,000 votes but in the second and third rounds, the BJP took the lead to make the contest a tight one. However, the TRS maintained the lead since fourth round and gradually increased the lead.
The counting of votes began at 8 a.m. Sunday amid tight security. The poll officials first took up counting of postal ballots.
A voter turnout of 93.13 per cent was recorded in the bitterly-contested bypoll on Thursday. This surpassed 91.31 per cent polling recorded in the constituency in 2018 polls.
Out of a total 2,41,805 voters, 2,25,192 voters cast their votes. This does not include the postal ballots.
Though there were a total of 47 candidates in the fray, the main contest was among three major players – the TRS, the BJP, and the Congress.
The bypoll was necessitated after sitting MLA Rajagopal Reddy resigned from the Congress to join the BJP in August. This time, he contested on the BJP ticket.
The TRS fielded former MLA Prabhakar Reddy, who had lost to Rajagopal Reddy in 2018.
The Congress fielded Palvai Sravanthi Reddy, daughter of former MP Palvai Goverdhan Reddy.
In 2018, Rajagopal Reddy had won Munugode seat on Congress ticket, defeating his nearest rival Prabhakar Reddy of TRS by 23,552 votes.
Rajagopal Reddy had polled 99,239 votes while Prabhakar Reddy secured 61,687 votes. G. Manohar Reddy of the BJP was a poor third with 12,725 votes.