Effective and visible policing in the city and suburban parts ensured peaceful polling on Wednesday. Several voters complimented the police for this.

For a total electorate of about 20 lakh spread across 10 constituencies in the city and rural pockets, there were close to 5,000 police personnel including those from Central Police Force and Home Guards. Following complaints from the Opposition parties against some officials, the Election Commission ‘suddenly' shifted Inspector General of Police (South Zone), Commissioner of Police (Madurai City), and Superintendent of Police (Madurai Rural), Collector (Madurai District), among others, about a fortnight ago.

There was very little time for the new officers to settle down ahead of the D-day (April 13) but still they achieved the goal by conducting the polls smoothly and prevented money distribution to a large extent, one Election Observer told ‘The Hindu' here on Wednesday.

At least on three occasions, the EC was a bit concerned over the developments that were reported in Madurai district, the official admitted. The competent officials showed their mettle and determination, he summed up.

When contacted, Commissioner of Police (Madurai City) P. Kannappan said that peaceful polling was achieved in the city because of the efforts of every single police man and officer. They worked hard day and night. There was nothing to substitute hard work, he asserted.

Madurai Rural SP Asra Garg said that it was team work of the police personnel and complimented all his team members and those from the Central Police Force. Initial visible policing and determined action as per law discouraged those giving money for votes to a large extent. On many days, clash between two political parties was averted during campaign days, he recalled.

On the Election Day, the presence of police at the right spot prevented even minor scuffle such as problems in queuing up at a couple of polling stations. There was no rowdyism and there was no threat. There was no impersonation. “I toured the entire district to ensure that every public cast his/her vote without any problem from security point of view.”

Collector U. Sagayam told reporters at a polling station that the official machinery had maintained vigil and sustained campaign had made every citizen to cast his vote.