Vikravandi byelection sees 82.48% turnout

The voting was largely peaceful, barring an altercation between PMK workers and security personnel and a knife attack on a woman

Published - July 10, 2024 10:34 pm IST - VILLUPURAM

Voters at a polling booth in Vikravandi on Wednesday.

Voters at a polling booth in Vikravandi on Wednesday. | Photo Credit: KUMAR SS

The byelection to the Vikravandi Assembly constituency in Villupuram district recorded 82.48% polling on Wednesday. The voting was largely peaceful, barring an altercation between PMK workers and security personnel and a knife attack on a woman voter.

The death of DMK MLA N. Pugazhenthi on April 6 necessitated the byelection. Polling was held at 276 booths, including 44 vulnerable and critical booths, which were manned by 1,355 election workers. Fifty-three micro-observers and more than 2,700 police and paramilitary personnel were on duty. At the vulnerable booths, more personnel were posted. Surveillance cameras were also installed to monitor the process.

Voters braved the heat and started arriving at the booths from 7 a.m. Long queues were seen at most booths. The electronic voting machines malfunctioned at Mambalapattu, Ottan Kaaduvetti, and Karungalipattu, holding up the voting for around 30 minutes. According to official estimates, 30,667 people, or 12.94% of the electorate, had cast their votes by 9 a.m. The figure went up to 29.97% by 11 a.m. and 50.95% by 1 p.m. It touched 64.44% by 3 p.m.

Polling was held up for 30 minutes at a booth at Kappiyampuliyur after the PMK alleged that a 77-year-old voter was impersonated. However, the presiding officer denied the charge after examining the marked electoral roll and the register. Voters waiting in the queue at the closing time of 6 p.m. were given tokens to enable them to cast their votes.

At a booth at T. Kosapalayam, a woman was injured in the neck after she was attacked with a knife, allegedly by her estranged husband. She was rushed to the Villupuram Government Medical College and Hospital.

Paramilitary personnel objected to PMK spokesperson K. Balu parking his vehicle in front of a booth at Sathanur. The police pacified PMK workers, who were quarrelling with the paramilitary personnel.

The authorities webcast the voting from all 276 booths to a control room.

29 in the fray

While the ruling DMK fielded Anniyur Siva, the PMK put up C. Anbumani, who unsuccessfully contested from the constituency in 2016. The Naam Tamilar Katchi fielded Abinaya.

Among the candidates, Mr. Siva was the first to cast his vote at a booth at Anniyur at 7.10 a.m. Mr. Anbumani cast his vote at a booth at Panayapuram.

Security was tightened at the vulnerable and critical booths, with the deployment of personnel of the Central Armed Police Forces, besides men of the Tamil Nadu Special Police.

The EVMs were sealed at the end of polling and taken to the counting centre at Panayapuram, where the votes will be counted on July 13.

The average polling in Vikravandi was around 81% in the three elections held since 2011, when the constituency was created. The highest of 82.04% was recorded in 2021. In the 2016 election, the turnout was 81.24 %.

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