Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu rural local body polls | Nearly 25 lakh cast vote in second phase

Voters queue up at a booth during the rural local body elections at Kundrathur block in Tamil Nadu’s Kancheepuram District on October 9, 2021.   | Photo Credit: B. Velankanni Raj

About 25 lakh voters, accounting for 73.27% of the electors in nine newly constituted districts, exercised their franchise in the second phase of polling for the elections to the rural local bodies, amid sporadic incidents of clashes.

Polling was largely peaceful, said an official of the State Election Commission (SEC). It covered 12,341 posts, including members of 62 district panchayat wards, 626 panchayat union wards and 10,329 village panchayat wards, besides 1,324 village panchayat presidents. The total number of electors in these districts was 34.77 lakh, of which women constituted 17.63 lakh; men 17.14 lakh and transgender persons 455.

Polling began at 7 a.m, and the last one hour (5 p.m. to 6 p.m) was earmarked for COVID-19 patients.

Villupuram registered the highest turnout with 83.6%, followed by Kallakurichi (82%) and Ranipet (75.3%). Tirupattur recorded 73.5%; Kancheepuram 72%; Chengalpattu and Tenkasi 70% each; Vellore 68%; and Tirunelveli 65%.

Polling was also held as part of the by-elections to 424 posts of the rural local bodies in 28 other districts. In Coimbatore, where the by-elections were held for a district panchayat ward member, two village panchayat presidents and 10 village panchayat ward members, 70.85% of 77,104 voters exercised their franchise as of 5 p.m.

In the southern region, polling went off without any incident in the newly constituted Tirunelveli and Tenkasi, which went to the regular elections, as also in Madurai, Ramanathapuram, Sivaganga, Dindigul and Theni, all of which had by-elections.

In the Gerugambakkam village panchayat in Kancheepuram, a clash broke out between members of the ruling DMK and the AMMK. A similar incident was reported in Sandhaivellur village near Sunguvarchatram, involving supporters of the PMK and the AIADMK. As the police intervened, polling resumed at the two places. AMMK general secretary T.T.V. Dhinakaran urged the authorities to act against those responsible for the incident at Gerugumbakkam.

Polling was countermanded in a booth in Puducherry village near Poonthandalam in Kundrathur block of the same district due to a mix-up in ballot papers. At a booth in the Konganallur village panchayat of the Anaicut panchayat union, Vellore, a 35-year-old construction worker, S. Venketasan, was allegedly stabbed by a 28-year-old person. Both belong to the same village. The suspect fled the spot. The Anaicut police have filed a case and opened an investigation. “The incident is not related to polling,” said S. Selvakumar, SP (Vellore).

More than 500 voters at Virpattu in the Vallam block boycotted the elections. The villagers hoisted black flags in their houses demanding that Virpattu be declared a separate village panchayat.

AIADMK’s joint secretary for the advocates wing R.M. Babu Murugavel, in a representation to the SEC, called for webcasting and telecasting to be made at the time of counting and the relay of the process outside the counting places.

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Printable version | Dec 9, 2021 8:29:27 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/rural-local-body-polls-nearly-26-voter-turnout-by-11-am/article36912718.ece

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