Polling in all 119 Assembly seats of Telangana began at 7 am on Thursday. Voting will end at 5 pm in 106 constituencies and at 4 pm in the remaining 13 constituencies that are located in areas affected by left-wing extremism.

Till 11 am, the state recorded a voter turnout of 20.64%. The Adilabad district registered the highest figure of 30.65%, while Hyderabad recorded the lowest figure of 12.39%.

The Assembly election will decide the fate of 2,290 candidates from 109 national and regional parties. The state has 3.26 crore voters who are eligible to exercise their franchise across 35,655 polling stations.

Around 2.5 lakh government staffers will be engaged in election duties. The Election Commission has ordered all private establishments, including information technology companies, to remain closed on Thursday for citizens to vote.

On Thursday, state BJP chief G Kishan Reddy wrote to the Election Commission alleging electoral malpractices by Bharat Rashtra Samithi candidates and their workers after a scuffle broke out between the workers of political parties at a polling station in the Janagaon Assembly Constituency. The police broke up the scuffle involving the Congress, Bharat Rashtra Samithi and the Bharatiya Janata Party by baton-charging the party workers.

“The BRS Candidates and their workers in all the constituencies [are] moving in around the polling stations comprising of 100 to 200 people,” Reddy said. “When BJP workers complained about the same to the police and other officials, instead of taking action against such incidents, they are allowing the BRS workers to attack the BJP workers.”

Reddy accused the police of tacitly supporting Bharat Rashtra Samithi workers and threatening those in the BJP wifiling false cases. He also alleged that in the Amberpet Assembly Constituency, the Bharat Rashtra Samithi candidate and his son were found openly distributing money and no action has been taken so far.

The Bharat Rashtra Samithi is seeking a third term in Telangana, while the Opposition Congress is looking to win another southern state after Karnataka. The Bharatiya Janata Party is seeking to gain a foothold in Telangana as part of its efforts to expand its influence in southern India.

Among the key candidates in the Assembly election are Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, his son and state minister KT Rama Rao, A Revanth Reddy and BJP MPs Bandi Sanjay Kumar and D Arvind.

K Chandrashekar Rao is contesting from two constituencies – his home turf Gajwel and Kamareddy. A Revanth Reddy will take on the chief minister in Kamareddy and will also contest from his home constituency of Kodangal.

The BJP has fielded MLA T Raja Singh, accused in several hate speech cases, from the Goshamahal constituency. Singh was suspended in August last year for his remarks about Prophet Muhammad, but the suspension was revoked in October.

On Thursday, the Congress party accused Bharat Rashtra Samithi leader K Kavitha of violating the Model Code of Conduct by seeking votes on a polling day, ANI reported. Congress leader G Niranjan filed a complaint against her with the state chief electoral officer.

“While speaking to the media today after exercising her vote at the polling station at DAV School in the Banjara Hills, Kavitha appealed to vote for BRS, which is in violation of the code,” he alleged.

In the Kamareddy town, Bharat Rashtra Samithi workers stopped Telangana Congress chief A Revanth Reddy’s brother Kondal Reddy from visiting a poll booth, according to ANI.

A Bharat Rashtra Samithi worker alleged that Kondal Reddy was roaming around with a fake pass and interacting with the returning officer. “He is roaming around with 20 people,” he alleged. “He went to three polling stations with them in three vehicles but the police didn’t tell them anything...We will complain to the Election Commission.”