Rural areas of Madurai district witnessed a huge turnout of voters amid brisk and peaceful polling on Wednesday. Both men and women, old and young were found waiting in long queues at a lot of polling stations in Sholavandan, Usilampatti, and Tirupparankundram Assembly constituencies.

After Election Commission's stringent measures which took the sheen off, not only the stipulated areas of 200 metres demarcated as “no disturbance zone” looked bare of political colours but also most of the areas as there were hardly any political activity.

One could hardly see any vehicle zipping past on the dusty tracks or on the main roads.

Restaurants, eateries, and other small shops were found closed in most of the places and even officials on duty found it difficult to get their food parcels.

Sweltering heat with no green trees inside the campus of some schools made life difficult for the aged and women.

Women equalled men in all these polling stations and at some stations in Tirupparankundram women outnumbered men in fulfilling the democratic exercise.

In Kamarajar Middle School and Government Girls Higher Secondary School in Sholavandan (Reserved) constituency, brisk polling was recorded at around 10.30 a.m. and 11 a.m.

Mohammed Ghouse, Micro Observer at Alankottaram Arasan Shanmuganar Government Higher Secondary School, said that up to 8.30 in the morning polling was slow but it picked up slowly and voters started coming in good numbers.

In one hour, from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m., Sholavandan constituency recorded nine per cent and there was no untoward incident reported in the constituency.

In Usilampatti constituency, the All India Forward Bloc candidate P. V. Kathiravan complained that at Valandur, a few DMK men were carrying a poll list and cross checking voters for whom they allegedly gave money and asking them to cast votes for their party.

At Valandur Panchayat Union Middle School polling station, there was ruckus but police intervened and asked the individuals who had cast their votes to leave the place.

At around 11.a.m. in the TELC Middle School, Usilampatti, in polling stations number the average per cent recorded stood at 32.

In one of the polling stations at TELC Girls School, there was little disturbance when more than one booth agent of DMK was found to be present and later was asked to leave the station.

According to Pugazhendi, Returning Officer, at around 1.a.m., Usilampatti constituency recorded 39 per cent overall.

In Pannaipatti near Usilampatti, there was a minor incident after reports of a Dalit youth had allegedly pushed a woman who was standing in the queue. Following this, caste Hindus wanted the police to arrest the youth.

When the police were about to arrest him, the Dalit villagers threatened a road blockade. However, the police in a swift move pacified the crowd and asked them to disperse.

In Tirupparankundram, one could see huge number of voters standing in long queues at around 4 p.m., the scene at Andavar Subramaniaswamy Girls Higher Secondary School was quite amazing as both men and women, old and young were standing together waiting for their turn to cast votes.

At around 4.p.m. in the seven polling stations (79-85) in the school, 66.48 per cent of votes were polled.

The polling stations, (65 to 71) at Muthuthevar Mukkulathur Higher Seconday School in Tirunagar recorded 62 per cent at 3 p.m.

Voting in all the three constituencies went off smoothly and apart from only one small incident at Pannaipatti there were no untoward incidents reported in rural areas.

It was a free and fair election and voters in rural areas as against the upwardly mobile classes in urban areas turned out in huge numbers.