Tamil Nadu

Polling date coincides with two religious events

With lakhs expected to visit temple town, holding polls will be a challenge

The polling date announced on Sunday for the Parliamentary election in Tamil Nadu — April 18 — has prompted concern among officials and representatives of political parties, as it falls during the Chithirai festival in Madurai, the most important event in the temple town’s calendar which witnesses lakhs of devotees throng the city from Madurai and surrounding districts.

The date also coincides with Maundy Thursday, one of the holiest days for Christians as they are expected to attend church on the day preceding Good Friday.

Citing issues ranging from security arrangements to low voter turnout, officials and representatives of political parties have expressed concern that it will be an enormous challenge to conduct the election on the scheduled date.

A senior police officer from the region said it would be nearly impossible to make security arrangements for both the Chithirai festival and the election.

P.T.R.P. Thiagarajan, the DMK MLA of Madurai Central constituency, said it will result in poor voter turnout not only in Madurai, but also in neighbouring districts. V.V. Rajan Chellappa, Madurai North MLA from the AIADMK, said he had already highlighted the issue to the party high command so that it could take it up with the EC.

AIADMK Rajya Sabha MP Vijila Sathyananth said that all MPs from Tamil Nadu had submitted a memorandum to the EC, calling for Tamil Nadu to be covered under Phase I of polling, but the plea was ignored.

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 1:59:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/polling-date-coincides-with-two-religious-events/article26489887.ece

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