Visakhapatnam: All eyes are on the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) elections that were held on 10 March after 14 years. The GVMC civic polls assume significance as the state government is gearing up to make Vizag the executive capital of the state.

There are 17.26 lakh registered voters in GVMC and the election witnessed a voter turnout of around 50 per cent. The high percentage may set up a tight contest between the TDP and YSRCP candidates.

Senior citizens were eager to cast their ballots and turned up in large numbers soon after the polling began at 7 a.m on Wednesday.

T. Sudhakar, a resident of Vizag, said, "In cities, the corporation body takes a key role. But unfortunately, the polling percentage is low in city."

Steel plant employees slip 'Save Vizag Steel Plant' papers

With the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP) issue raging in the city, all polling stations around Gajuwaka and VSP were notified as sensitive and hyper-sensitive.

In defiance of the Centre's proposal for 100 per cent strategic sale of VSP, employees of the plant dropped an extra slip of paper with the slogan 'Save VSP' along with the ballot papers.

Peaceful elections, COVID-19 rules followed

In general, polling was peaceful across all 98 wards in the GVMC and in the 22 wards in Yelamanchili and 28 in Narsipatnam municipalities. However, a situation arose in the polling booth in Andhra University after the local TDP MLA complained of mischief and stormed the booth with his supporters.

In view of COVID-19, the district administration had taken all precautions at the polling booth as per the protocols.

Every polling station had installed two or three counters manned by Aasha workers and equipped with sanitizers and hand-held thermal scanners. "All voters entering the booth have to pass through our counters," said an Aasha worker at a polling station in Muralinagar.

Videographers were seen at many polling stations and police personnel and volunteers were seen helping senior citizens and differently-challenged voters at the booths.

While most people who came out to vote were wearing masks, at some polling stations people were seen walking in without them. However, both the police and the health workers insisted they wear a mask before casting their vote. Social distancing norms were not followed at most of the polling stations.

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