Returning Officer says 528 booths identified as ‘sensitive’

The Madurai Parliamentary constituency will see 31 candidates battling it out in the 16 Lok Sabha elections. Of the 34 candidates whose nominations had been approved, three candidates withdrew their nominations on Wednesday. The candidates who withdrew their nominations included independents N. Aarumuga Pandian and V.G.R Vasuki. P. Ramamoorthy of the All India Forward Bloc also withdrew his nomination papers.

The prominent candidates who are in the fray include R. Gopalakrishnan of the AIADMK, B. Vikraman of the CPI (M), D. Sivamuthukumar of the DMDK, V. Velusamy of the DMK, T.N. Bharat Nachiappan of the Congress and M. Kamacis of the Aam Aadmi Party. As many as 22 independent candidates are also in the fray.

Collector and Returning Officer L. Subramanian said two ballot units would have to be used in the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) to accommodate the final number of candidates and the None of the Above (NOTA) option.

“Apart from the number of ballot units that we have already procured and the ones kept in reserve, we will be directed by the Election Commission on where to procure additional ballot units from,” Mr. Subramanian said.

Talking about the preparations made for smooth polling, the Returning Officer said 528 booths had been identified as sensitive in the district and Micro Observers and the Central paramilitary force personnel would be deployed there. “Nearly 900 booths will have cameras monitoring polling,” he added.

Election officials said booth slips would be distributed to the voters in the constituency before April 19.

“While a representative from each party who is a booth agent can accompany the booth-level officers when they go for distribution, they are not authorised to distribute booth slips themselves,” Mr. Subramanian stated.

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