Staff Reporter

In first phase of local body elections in Tirunelveli

TIRUNELVELI: The first phase of civic polls held on Friday has once again categorically proved that people living in rural parts, with limited facilities, are keeping the democracy alive by casting their votes, while most of the voters from educated population continue keep themselves away from the poll process even though there was no trouble on the polling day.

According to the statistics made available to the media after the end of the first phase of the local body elections, 71.26 per cent voters living in village panchayat and panchayat union areas and 70.40 per cent voters of town panchayat areas exercised their franchise.

Only 60.33 per cent electors in third grade municipalities of Ambasamudram and Vickramasingapruam and 60.41 per cent voters living under Tirunelveli Corporation have cast their votes.

Agonising aspect

The most agonising finding of election held for Tirunelveli Corporation is that ward 27 (NGO `A' Colony and adjoining areas) of this civic body registered only 46.49 per cent though it houses well-educated population with 10,487 voters.

Similar trend could be seen in other `educated areas' such as ward 17 (KTC Nagar and Rahmath Nagar - 48.38 per cent), ward 20 (Maharaja Nagar - 49.45 per cent) and ward 26 (Anbu Nagar and Perumalpuram - 46.78 per cent), all having educated population.

On the contrary, 74.10 per cent voters of ward 45 of Tirunelveli Corporation (Malayalamedu and adjoining areas), mostly housing the deprived living with limited facilities and poor sanitary conditions, have cast their votes.

Limited facilities

"I just can't understand this agonising situation. While more than 70 per cent of the voters living in poverty with limited facilities exercise their franchise in all elections without fail, people living in posh localities with all facilities adamantly refuse to come to the polling stations to discharge their democratic duty," said a professor of Manonmaniam Sundaranar University.

"However, this highly fortunate lot regularly reads a minimum of two newspapers and mail or e-mail their opinions and suggestions on various public issues," the professor said.