Brisk polling in 1st phase of local body polls in 9 TN districts

The first five and half hours of polling in the rural local body elections witnessed brisk voting in almost all the nine new districts.

In Tirunelveli district, which had witnessed killings on caste lines in the last couple of weeks, there was good polling.

By 12.30 p.m. on Wednesday, Tirunelveli district reported 32.1 per cent polling with women in large numbers arriving at the booths.

The rural local body polls have more of a local fervor as it determines the rulers of the panchayats and district councils which directly affect the lives of the people and hence good polling is being witnessed in these places.

Even after rains have decreased, polling in Chengalpattu and Kancheepuram districts has not caught the momentum. While Changalpattu recorded 24.3 per cent polling till noon, Kancheepuram was slightly better with 25.9 per cent.

Ramesh Kumar, who lives in Pammal, voted in Pozhiyoor school and told IANS, “There was not much rush at the polling counter and all the Covid-19 protocols were intact. I went to the polling station along with my wife and daughter. We could cast our votes in ten minutes on reaching the booth. Heavy police contingent is guarding the booth for any untoward incident.”

In Tenkasi, there was a slight scuffle when a few people jumped the queue and violated the Covid-19 protocol. The police personnel on duty intervened and pacified the angry voters when some people jumped the queue.

Voting in the district of Tenkasi touched 29.01 per cent at 12.30 p.m. and local people said that the polling will gain momentum in the afternoon. The polling will be conducted till 6 p.m. with the last one hour earmarked for Covid-19 patients.

At Vellore district also there were minor issues related to Covid-19 protocol and people argued with the police personnel about not having proper Covid protocol in place in some booths.

The voting percentage touched 31.19 per cent at 12.30 p.m. in Vellore and the polling is expected to gain strength in the next couple of hours.

Shanmughan, 52, a local leader of the DMK while speaking to IANS said, “DMK will sweep the polls as our Chief Minister had taken extra care for the welfare of the people of the state after assuming office on May 7. The only thing that is to be known is our majority.”

Mohammed Abdullah, an AIADMK worker at Vellore while speaking to IANS said, “DMK has failed the people and they will not win a majority in the rural local body elections and it will be a good victory for the AIADMK. It is to be remembered that the difference between the AIADMK and DMK in the last Assembly elections was only 1 per cent in favour of the DMK. That is not a big deal which we will overcome and we will emerge victorious in the rural local body polls.”

Villupuram and Kallikurichi districts also witnessed good polling with 27.84 per cent and 28.5% voting respectively by 12.30 p.m. No untoward incidents were reported from these districts. Heavy police posse is deployed in both Villupuram and Kallikurichi for the conduct of free and fair polls.

Ranipet and Tiruppatur also witnessed good polling with 30.01 per cent and 28.4 per cent respectively by 12.30 p.m.