Telangana: The Election Commission has decided to use ballot papers for the Nizamabad Lok Sabha constituency in Telangana.

The step was necessitated as the number of candidates is higher than what the EVMs can accommodate.

The number of candidates increased after farmers filed their nominations in protest of the alleged failure of the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi to ensure minimum support price for turmeric and red jowar (sorghum) produce.

They have also demanded setting up of a turmeric board.

443 candidates remained in the fray with Nizamabad topping the list with 185 candidates, after the deadline for withdrawal of nominations ended on Thursday.

Telangana chief electoral officer (CEO) Rajat Kumar said that there are 185 valid contesting candidates in Nizamabad and the polls will be conducted through paper ballot.

"In Nizamabad we have to conduct polls by ballot paper. This will be also referred to ECI to take approval for what kind of ballot paper we will use. ECI will give guidelines for design of ballot paper and we will print it," added Kumar.

However, CEO Rajat Kumar said that on ballot papers, candidates of recognised national parties will be on top, followed by state parties and then unrecognised parties and independents.

Earlier, Kumar had said if the number of contestants in a constituency exceeds 64, then the Election Commission would have to conduct polls using ballot papers.

Venkatesh, the PRO for the Election Commission in Hyderabad, spoke to MyNation and said that there has been no official confirmation from the ECI.

"Until we get the official conirmation from ECI, we can't be sure that ballot paper will be used," stated Venkatesh.

He further stated that the ECI's confirmation will be received in about two or three days' time.

MyNation drew reference to the time that ballot boxes in West Bengal were thrown into lakes, and asked Venkatesh what steps have been taken to avoid such incidents.

Venkatesh replied, "I can't tell you what steps have been taken but there are precautionary measures in place."

Venkatesh also said that he cannot give away too much information about the security that will be in place on poll day.

Telangana will go to polls on April 11, with 17 Lok Sabha constituencies.

EC officials stated that they have made arrangements for paper ballot in Nizamabad by procuring ballot boxes and print ballot papers.

In 1996 ballot papers were used when 480 candidates contested from Nalgonda Lok Sabha seat.

Similarly, in August 2010, ballot papers were used during Assembly by-elections for a few seats.

648 nominations were filed in the state of which 145 were rejected and 503 nominations were found to be in order after scrutiny.