Brisk polling was reported in the Pennagaram Assembly constituency where the by-election was being held on Saturday. Polling, which began at 8 a.m., was, by and large, peaceful.

The Pennagaram by-election on Saturday witnessed a high voter turnout amid tight security arrangements.

The Pennagaram Assembly constituency, part of the backward district of Dharmapuri, recorded a turnout of 84.95 per cent. The total number of votes polled was 1,70,755. Of the total number of voters, men accounted for 1,12,892 and women 98,116.

Polling, which began at 8 a.m., was over in all but 10 booths, where it was completed by 9.20 pm.

Chief Electoral Officer Naresh Gupta, was stationed in Dharmapuri for the last two days. The by-election was necessitated by the death of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam Member of Legislative Assembly P.N. Periyannan in December. Apart from the DMK, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Pattali Makkal Katchi and Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam have fielded their nominees. Counting will be held on Tuesday.

Expressing satisfaction over the peaceful conduct of the poll, Mr. Gupta commended P. Amutha, Dharmapuri Collector-District Election Officer, and police officers.

Chief Election Commissioner Navin Chawla telephonically conveyed his appreciation of the work of the police to Inspector-General and Officer on Special Duty for the election Abash Kumar.

The day also saw a few incidents.

In Samichettipatti village (25 km from the Dharmapuri town), the police chased away a mob that assembled near a polling booth. One person sustained a minor injury.

In Nagaramarai, the police detained some persons. Due to a technical problem, polling started half-an-hour late in the Kullanaur polling station, which covers Thalappallam, the native village of the AIADMK nominee R. Anbalagan.

About 2,450 personnel, drawn from the Central Industrial Security Force, Central Reserve Police Force and the Karnataka Armed Reserve Police were deployed. Besides, the services of eight companies of Tamil Nadu Special Police were requisitioned.

Additional police forces had been deployed at the polling booths in naxalite-affected villages of Eriyur, Nagamarai and Neruppur.

Erimalai village, atop a small hill, reported 93 per cent turnout, highest in the constituency.

Mr. Gupta said that normally, polling in by-elections in the State was higher than that of the general elections. This was due to greater mobilisation by political parties.

On his personal presence in Dharmapuri to monitor the polling, he said the Election Commission had directed him to be present. He added that he got some “nasty letters,” the contents of which could not be shared with the media.

First-aid centres were set up in all polling stations. An 11-member delegation of Bhutan, led by Tashi Gyeltshen, Commissioner, visited a few stations.