A voter turnout of 75.28 per cent was recorded in the gram panchayat elections held in Kundapur taluk of Udupi district on Wednesday, according the district authorities here.
Polling booths in naxalite-affected areas of the taluk also recorded a good voter turnout.
Voting began on a brisk note in the naxalite-affected areas where tight police security was in place. As many as 236 of the 870 voters had cast their vote by 10.45 a.m. at a booth in the Government Composite High School in the naxalite-affected Amasebail village.
As many as 422 of the 1,117 voters had exercised their franchise in the Higher Primary School polling station in the naxalite-affected village of Machattu by 11 a.m. Anantha Machattu, a resident of the village, said that though there was some development work in the village, a lot more needs to be done.
“People are voting with enthusiasm as they feel that this will help in getting their problems solved,” he said.
In the naxalite-affected village of Thombattu, located in the picturesque surroundings of the Western Ghats, 434 of the 794 voters had cast their votes by 12 noon.
Thombattu has a population of 1,800 and there are about 250 houses in the village. T. Chandrashekhar Shetty, a resident of the village and member of a local cooperative society, said till about a couple of years ago it was very difficult for people to come to the village owing to bad roads. But now, a road has been laid to the village under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana. “Naxalites are not visiting the area now,” he said.
Superintendent of Police Pravin Pawar told presspersons at Thombattu that naxalites had put up a banner in Thombattu village last year. The Thombattu polling station was categorised as “hyper sensitive”. The Anti-Naxalite Force (ANF) and the anti-sabotage teams, along with a sniffer dog, had checked every bridge, culvert and road in the naxalite-affected areas of the taluk for any explosive device.
There were 22 polling stations in naxalite-affected areas. Police personnel from Kerala and Tamil Nadu had also been deployed at these polling stations. The ANF was carrying out combing operations. There was over 45 per cent polling in the naxalite-affected areas of the taluk by 12 noon, Mr. Pawar added.
According to Deputy Commissioner P. Hemalatha, polling was peaceful.
The elections to gram panchayats in Udupi and Karkala taluks were held on May 8.