Smooth, incident-free polling in Puducherry

Puducherry Lok Sabha constituency registered a turnout of 78.5% till 6 p.m. on Friday, down from 81.19% recorded in 2019. The polling process remained incident-free in the four regions of Puducherry, Karaikal, Mahe, and Yanam.

Updated - April 20, 2024 05:54 am IST

Published - April 19, 2024 10:27 pm IST - PUDUCHERRY

Narikurava community waiting for their turn to cast vote in a booth at Karuvadikuppam.

Narikurava community waiting for their turn to cast vote in a booth at Karuvadikuppam. | Photo Credit: S.S. KUMAR

The election to the lone Puducherry Lok Sabha constituency, where the National Democratic Alliance and INDIA bloc, are locked in a high-stakes battle, registered a turnout of around 78.5% till 6 p.m., which is less than the 81. 19 % recorded in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

According to officials in the Election Department, the final figure is expected to go beyond this as voting details are still emerging from certain booths.

The exercise remained incident-free in the four regions of Puducherry, Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam. In addition to police personnel, the Elections Department had also deployed 10 companies of the Central Armed Reserve Force for the 237 polling stations identified as critical or vulnerable.

Well before the commencement of polling in all the 967 polling booths across the four regions of the Union Territory at 7 a.m, voters were seen patiently standing in long queues from 6. 30 a.m in many polling stations in Puducherry region.

Polling went off smoothly in all places except the initial delay caused due to glitch in Electronic Voting Machine and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail slips in places such as Villianur, Ariankuppam, Kamaraj Nagar and Mudaliarpet. In booths where machines reported minor technical issues, election officials either replaced the machines or rectified the defects. The delay in these places was about 45 minutes, said an election official.

Heavy polling was reported in the first two hours in Assembly constituencies such as Thirubhuvanai, Kadirgamam, Thattanchavady, Nellithope, Ossudu, Bahour, Mangalam, Villianur, Embalam, Nedungadu, Karaikal South and Neravy T. R Pattinam. In these constituencies the voter turnout in the first two hours was 13 to 15 %. All the 30 Assembly segments reported more than 10 per cent vote from 7 a.m to 9 a.m.

While Chief Minister and founder leader of All India N R Congress N. Rangasamy exercised his franchise at Government Primary School, Thilaspet, Home Minister and BJP candidate A. Namassivayam cast his vote at Government High School at V. Manaveli. Congress candidate and sitting Member of Parliament V. Vaithilingam cast his vote at Maducarai.

Other prominent politicians who exercised their franchise included former Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy, Speaker R. Selvam, Minister for Public Works K. Lakshminarayanan, Minister for Agriculture C. Djeacoumar and Opposition leader R. Siva.

Chief Secretary Sharat Chauhan, Chief Electoral Officer P. Jawahar and District Election Officer cum District Collector A. Kulothungan cast vote at Indira Nagar near JIPMER campus. They also planted saplings inside the premises of Mother Theresa Post graduate and Research Institute of Health Sciences as part of sustainable election campaign.

UT has around 26, 959 first time voters. Since morning, enthusiastic debutant voters armed with Elector’s Photo Identity Card and voter slips were seen lined up across polling stations in Puducherry.

A. Lokeshwari, a first year degree student at Bharathidasan Government Women’s College, said voting for the first time has given her confidence to take own decisions.

“I got a feeling that I have grown up. When I voted, the first issue that came up before me is the drug problem. There is also the issue of unemployment. I have voted for a government that could stop drug abuse and alcoholism,” she said.

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