Close to 90 % cast their vote, web cameras recorded polling in 269 booths

The by-election to the Yercaud Assembly constituency on Wednesday recorded the highest ever turnout of close to 90 per cent in the constituency that has a little over than 2.4 lakh voters.

No untoward incident was recorded during polling, according to police. A few cases of Model Code of Conduct violations in the form of canvassing near polling stations were reported.

The first two hours saw 18 per cent polling, and thereafter it climbed steadily. By noon, 43 per cent of voters had turned up across 290 booths at 119 polling stations, both on the hills and the plains.

Polling is expected to cross the 90 per cent mark as it was 86 per cent at 4 p.m., an hour before close of voting, said Salem District Collector and District Election Officer K. Maharabushanam.

Counting will be on December 8.

The by-election was held as the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam MLA C. Perumal died on July 19.

Polling was recorded online through web cameras in 269 booths. Offline recording of polling was done in 21 booths in remote villages in Yercaud Hills due to lack of telecommunication network. Micro observers from various Central government offices were posted to monitor the polling process in the 21 booths. Web casting was done at the Collectorate for representatives of political parties and election officials to monitor the polling process.

SMS-based poll monitoring was carried out as presiding officers in each booth disseminated information through SMS to the 36 zones, which in turn, was collected at the office of Returning Officer at the Collectorate.

Two detainees under the Goondas Act, lodged in the Salem Central Prison, cast their votes through postal ballot. AIADMK candidate P. Saroja, wife of the deceased MLA, garlanded her husband’s memorial and offered prayers before proceeding to cast her vote at the Panchayat Union Middle School in Papanayakanpatti, Attur Taluk.

Dravida Munetra Kazhagam (DMK) candidate V. Maran – the only other candidate from a registered and recognised political party to contest in the by-election – cast his vote at the Panchayat Union Elementary School in his native Poovanur village.

Many voters were disappointed when they found that the description of NOTA (None of the Above) option did not figure in the model ballot sheet pasted outside the booths, though the option was available in all the voting machines.