10.45 lakh voters go to polls in Coimbatore, and 8.6 lakh in Tirupur

The City is ready for polls on Monday. The Coimbatore Corporation and the City Police have taken all possible steps, say the respective heads.

According to Corporation Commissioner T.K. Ponnusamy, 63 zonal parties will oversee the elections in 1,101 booths, which have 10.45 lakh voters. On Sunday afternoon, the Corporation moved all poll-related materials to the booths, numbering 43.

The civic body moved the electronic voting machines on Sunday morning. On Monday at 6 a.m., an hour prior to the commencement of polls, the presiding officers, in the presence of booth agents, will conduct a mock voting exercise to ensure that all is well with the EVMs.

They will then switch off the machines and start them a few minutes prior to 7 a.m. to enable the voters to exercise their franchise.

The voters may take either the Corporation-given booth slips that have photographs or electors' photo identity cards.

The newly included 3,861 voters may also take their booths slips, which do not have photographs. Or, the voters may take any of the 13 identity cards.

Sensitive booths

Mr. Ponnusamy said the Corporation officials had identified 206 booths as sensitive, where video recording of the proceedings have been ordered. There would be no webcasting, though.

These booths would also have micro observers to ensure that the polling is free and fair.

City Police Commissioner Amaresh Pujari said that 2,000 personnel would be deployed in the City to ensure incident-free polling on Monday.

Mr. Pujari, accompanied by Deputy Commissioners of Police T. Senthil Kumar (Crime and Traffic) and Hema Karunakaran (Law and Order), inspected the security arrangements at the Government College of Technology, where the electronic voting machines and ballot boxes would be safeguarded after the elections.

Cameras installed

Speaking to reporters, Mr. Pujari said that three deputy commissioners, 15 assistant commissioners, 30 inspectors and 64 sub-inspectors would be posted during the elections.

To support them, ex-servicemen, National Cadet Corps cadets, Home Guards, Tamil Nadu Special Police Battalion and Kerala police personnel would be posted. At the counting centre, surveillance cameras have been installed.

Mr. Pujari said that all the 1,101 polling booths would have four-tier security.

As many as 63 vehicles would be on patrol during polling time.

The public could lodge election-related complaints by dialling any of the following numbers so that the police personnel could act as fast as possible: 2305758, 99402-17816, 83446-06060 or 85265-65656.

The City Police have made 117 preventive arrests so far. They have detained five under the under Goondas Act.

Documents accepted for voting: The District Election Officer and District Collector M. Karunakaran said voters can take of any of the 13 alternative documents to prove their identity while voting, if they do not have the electors' photo identity card.

Documents

A release from the Collector said that voters could take any of the following documents: passport, driving licence issued till May 31, 2011, Permanent Account Number (PAN) card, identity card issued by Central or State governments, or any public sector enterprise, bank passbook with photograph issued prior to May 31, 2011 by nationalised banks, pension document with photographs, or pension passbook of ex-servicemen, dependency certificate issued to wife or dependents of deceased ex-servicemen, photo identity card issued to freedom fighters, patta passbook with photograph, certificate with photographs issued to backward class, Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe and others by Revenue Department, arms licence, identity card issued to differently abled persons, identity card issued under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Generation Programme, or medical insurance card with photograph.

Another release from the Collector said that those found indulging in impersonation or casting bogus votes would be punishable with imprisonment and/or fine.

The same penalty would apply to those who try to reveal the choice of another voter. the release added.

The Joint Commissioner of Labour, Coimbatore, and Deputy Chief Inspector of Factories, have requested industrial and commercial establishments to grant holiday, with wages, to their employees on the day of the local body elections.

Tirupur

In Tirupur, 8,64,536 voters spread over the Corporation, six town panchayats, Palladam municipality, six panchayat unions and 141 village panchayats will be going to polls during the first-phase of the civic body polls in the district scheduled on Monday.

A total of 1,336 polling booths have been set up for the preliminary phase of the polls. The town panchayats that will go to polls on Monday include Avinashi, Thirumurganpoondi, Uthukuli, Kunnathur, Samalapuram and Rudravathi.

The six panchayat unions to be covered in the first stage of elections are Palladam, Kunnathur, Avinashi, Pongalur, Tirupur and Uthukuli.

The district has a total of one Corporation, five municipalities, 16 town panchayats, 13 panchayat unions and 265 village panchayats.

Of the 8,64,536 voters in the first-stage, as many as 4,08,300 are in Tirupur Corporation.

Considering this magnitude, the District Collector M. Mathivanan directly supervised the last-minute preparations including the transportation of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) stored at Corporation town hall to the 425 polling booths set up for the elections to Mayor and Councilors in Tirupur Corporation.

“Of the 425 polling stations, 45 were identified as sensitive booths and additional security had been deployed around it,” Mr Mathivanan said.

Mr Mathivanan said two ballot units (an EVM contain a control unit and ballot unit) would be used in each of the booths for the election to Mayor, as 28 candidates were in the fray. An additional ballot unit will be used when the number of candidates crosses 16. Likewise, two ballot units will be used in the election to Councillor in ward 44 in Tirupur Corporation, as 18 candidates remain in the reckoning.

(With inputs from Karthik Madhavan, S.P. Saravanan in Coimbatore and R. Vimal Kumar in Tirupur)

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