Polling to the urban local bodies in Tamil Nadu, held on Saturday after a gap of ten years, was largely peaceful across the State, except for a few incidents of arguments, protests and scuffles.
The turnout in Chennai was the lowest among the 38 districts, with Ariyalur recording the highest turnout by 5 p.m. The single phase elections were held to choose over 12,500 ward members in more than 640 urban local bodies, including 21 corporations.
While polling was brisk in town panchayats and municipalities, the voting at many of the corporations, especially in Chennai, was sluggish to begin with. As per data available at 10 p.m., Chennai registered a turnout of 41.68%. In the central region, the polling was brisk and by the end of the day, the turnout was over 70% in many of the urban local bodies. In northern districts also, the polling was around 70%.
While Madurai registered a turnout of 52.73%, Tiruppur district registered an overall polling of 60.66%, with the turnout for the Tiruppur Corporation at 55.4%. The Coimbatore Corporation recorded 55.81% polling at the time of going to press.
The police said six cases were filed across the State. In Melur in Madurai district, a BJP booth agent was removed from the booth after he asked one of the women to remove the hijab she was wearing. As election officials took exception to his remarks, the police sent him out and later arrested him.
The other cases were for damaging an EVM at a booth at Besant Nagar in Chennai by the ruling partymen and a scuffle between DMK and AIADMK workers at a few other places. At some places though, the main Opposition AIADMK protested that the ruling DMK was being shown undue favour by the police, and AIADMK workers protested at a few places, including Chennai. At many booths, the police had to evict DMK and AIADMK workers from the booths.
Director-General of Police C. Sylendra Babu told The Hindu, “The local bodies polls passed off peacefully, barring a few minor incidents. It was largely peaceful, compared with the previous local bodies elections. Patrolling and picketing were helpful this time and cameras were installed not only at polling stations but also in nearby areas.”
The DGP office said that compared with the local bodies elections held in 2011 when six murders were reported, the poll-related incidents were fewer this time.