After a painstaking two-day counting of about 3.88 lakh ballot papers for Warangal-Khammam-Nalgonda Graduates’ MLC polls, the final batch counting of first preference votes declared at 6 a.m. on Friday made it clear that the second preference vote counting and elimination method was inevitable to arrive at a candidate’s majority.

In the sixth batch results at 1 a.m., the three frontrunners TRS’ Palla Rajeshwar Reddy (16,204), Independent Teenmar Mallana (11,910) and TJS’ M. Kondandaram maintained their streak.

At about 6 a.m., after the final batch count, they stood with 1,10,840 votes, 83,290 votes and 70,072 votes respectively. BJP candidate Premendar Reddy stood fourth with 39,100 votes.

In all 21,636 votes were declared invalid.

As none of the candidates secured the 50% mark votes, Returning Officer Prashant J. Patil convened a meeting with the candidates and informed of the decision to count the second preference votes.

The Graduates’ MLC polls here witnessed 71 contestants in the fray. And for the single seat constituency, as per the quota formula, the minimum votes a candidate has to secure for getting elected, the total valid votes are divided by two. If any fraction is ignored, it is added by one.

Therefore, the valid summary figure at the end of first preference counting 3,66,333 was divided by two and added by one to arrive at the quota which is 1,83,167 votes.

Hence, it is clear that Palla Rajeshwar Reddy needs 1,83,167 minus (–) 1, 10,840 = 72,327 votes to be re-elected as the MLC. Similarly, Independent candidate Teenmar Mallana needs 99,877 and TJS’ M. Kondandaram needs 1,13,095 votes to win the poll.

The second preference vote counting started at 7.30 a.m. At around 7 p.m., RO Mr. Patil addressed the media at the counting centre and said that a total of 55 candidates were eliminated, and their votes were added to the continuing candidates. The process would take another 24 hours for completion, he added.

Superintendent of Police A.V. Ranganath, pointing to a minor disturbance outside counting hall no. 8 in the evening, said that one of the ballot papers that was forgotten in the hall was handed over to the RO. He reassured that the entire exercise was being conducted in a transparent manner.

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