Hyderabad, Feb 7 (IANS) Legislators of Andhra Pradesh Friday cast votes in the elections held for six Rajya Sabha seats.

Out of 276 legislators eligible to exercise their franchise, 248 participated in the polling, which concluded at 4 p.m., election officials said.

The counting of votes began at 5 p.m. and the results are likely to be announced by late evening.

Election of three candidates of Congress, two of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the lone candidate of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) appear a formality.

Though Congress rebel Addala Prabhakar Reddy Thursday announced that he is withdrawing from the contest, the Election Commission went ahead with the elections as he did not withdrew before the deadline for taking back the nominations.

Prabhakar Reddy himself told reporters that he voted for Congress candidate T. Subbarami Reddy.

A legislator of the ruling party availed None Of The Above (NOTA) option, introduced for the first time in the history of Rajya Sabha elections while another lawmaker dropped  a blank ballot paper in the ballot box.

Assembly speaker N. Manohar, Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy and TDP chief N. Chandrababu Naidu were among the first to cast their votes. YSR Congress party’s 23 legislators, Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) four members and the lone lawmaker of the Communist Party of India-Marxist stayed away from the voting.

The Telangana issue overshadowed the polls with the Congress legislators from Telangana voting for the candidates from the region. They said they would cast their first preference vote to party candidate M.A. Khan and the second preference vote to TRS leader K. Keshava Rao.

All seven legislators of Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) and four of Communist Party of India (CPI) backed the TRS candidate.

The Congress has re-nominated Subbarami Reddy, K.V.P. Ramachandra Rao and M.A. Khan. TDP has fielded T. Sitarama Lakshmi and G. Mohan Rao. Out of the six seats which fell vacant, five were held by Congress and one by the TDP.

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