Sudipto Mondal

They were brought to the polling booths and later dropped at their places

Several voters were confused about the voting process

There were altercations among supporters of rival candidates

MANGALORE: “This was my most comfortable voting experience ever,” said Thulasidhara (35), one of the over 900 people displaced from Block-3 of Permude Gram Panchayat for Mangalore Special Economic Zone Limited.

Speaking to The Hindu after casting his vote in the gram panchayat election on Wednesday, he said, “I was picked up from my doorstep in an air-conditioned car, taken to the polling station and dropped back.”

Thulasidhara and around 100 other displaced voters are now living in the MSEZ rehabilitation colony at Kulai, which is about 10 km from Permude.

“Two cars hired by rival candidates reached the colony at 6.30 a.m. More cars started arriving by 10 a.m. and they shunted voters to and fro all the day,” said Thulasi Sundar (40).

Block-3, where nearly 500 of the 600-odd registered voters have been displaced, saw 75 per cent turnout.

Jaya Moolya, a candidate who had predicted on Tuesday that only 150 voters would turn up, said, “I am very happy to see that so many people have turned up to vote.”

When asked about the car service, he said his rival candidate Deepak Permude had arranged for it. Mr. Permude, however, pointed the finger at Mr. Moolya.

Several voters said both Mr. Permude and Mr. Moolya had arranged eight vehicles to take them to polling booths.

There was a high voter turnout at Kilinjar in Kuppepadavu, 25 km from here, where a group of residents had threatened to boycott the elections to protest against failure of the authorities to fulfil their long-pending demands. Nearly 60 per cent of the 1,017 voters had exercised their franchise by noon itself.

Several voters were confused about the voting process. Unlike in the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections, in the gram panchayat election each voter is expected to choose more than one member. “I could not remember the election symbols of the four candidates of my choice,” said Hasina (68), a voter at Kilinjar.

Owing to such confusion there was some delay and this led to minor altercations among supporters of rival candidates.

At Kilinjar, the police defused tension after supporters of rival candidates accused one another other of trying to tutor the voters.

At Adoor Gram Panchayat, tense moments prevailed after allegations surfaced that a candidate and his supporters were trying to confuse the voters about election symbols.

A skirmish broke out at Kileria in Moodbidri after supporters of candidates were accused by their rivals of having campaigned within the 100-m radius of the polling booth.