S. Vydhianathan and Swahilya

Polling peaceful in Harbour, Royapuram, R.K. Nagar, Tiruvottiyur constituencies

Women outnumber men in many booths Voter turnout usually higher than earlier elections

CHENNAI: Several parts in North Chennai wore a festive look on Monday during the polls.

Polling by and large was peaceful in Harbour, Royapuram, R.K. Nagar, Tiruvottiyur and Perambur constituencies.

The crowds queued up before polling booths even before polling started at 7 a.m. In many booths, women outnumbered men. Those standing in the sun sorely felt the need of a `shamiana' and availability of drinking water.

In Cherian Nagar booth in R.K. Nagar, women voters complained that they had to stand for at least an hour in the queue to cast their votes. Polling officials said that was due to heavy crowds.

Large numbers

Eyeing the crowds at the Gandhiji Memorial English Primary School on Paper Mills Road, Perambur, a polling agent said, "It has not happened in this manner so far. It is surprising that people have come out in such large numbers to vote."

An official said that at some polling stations, such as 44 M near the Perambur Railway Station, 80 per cent of the electorate exercised their franchise. " The average in Perambur has earlier been 60 per cent," he said.

V. Nagarajan, Returning Officer, Tiruvottriyur Constituency, said polling was peaceful and normal and there was an approximate voter turnout of over 60 per cent.

Though the Election Commission allowed ration cards as one of the accepted identity cards, a few polling officers in R.K. Nagar allowed only heads of families, whose photos were there in the cards to vote, but did not permit their spouses.

Voters in Annai Satya Nagar near War Memorial, attached to Harbour constituency, complained that their pooling booth at the Government Law College near the High Court was nearly two km from their colony. This forced them to make use of transport facilities offered by political parties, though it was banned.

At one of the 11 booths in St. Paul's School in Rajakadai, S. Krishnamoorthy said compared to other polls, this was a smooth one. In stray cases of complaints of non-inclusion of names, D. Sekar, a chauffeur, was angry his name was not on the list. "Despite showing my Election ID and Driving License, they have not allowed me to vote. What is the validity these documents have in this country," he said.