The polling for the second phase began at 7 am and is likely to go on until 6 pm with the last one hour reserved for Covid-19 patients and those with symptoms.
The second phase of the rural local body polls in Tamil Nadu, which is taking place on Saturday, witnessed a voter turnout of 9.72 per cent as of 9 am, the State Election Commission (SEC) said.
Voting is being conducted in two phases in nine districts — Kancheepuram, Chengalpattu, Tenkasi, Vellore, Ranipet, Tiruppatur, Tirunelveli, Villupuram, and Kallakuruchi. The first phase of the voting concluded on October 6. The counting of votes will take place on October 12.
The polling for the second phase began at 7 am and will conclude at 6 pm. The last hour is reserved for Covid-19 patients and those with symptoms.
According to the poll body, as of 9 am this morning, Kancheepuram witnessed a voter turnout of 10.51 per cent, Chengalpet recorded 6.85 per cent, Villupuram 13.88 per cent, Kallakurichi 12.07 per cent, Vellore 8.5 per cent, Ranipet 7.4 per cent, Tirupathur 5.22 per cent, Tirunelveli 6.59 per cent, and Tenkasi 11.75 per cent.
A total of 76,59,720 voters are eligible to vote across the two phases. The second phase will see polls being contested in 6,652 polling booths in the nine districts. Around 1.1 lakh government employees will be part of the polling exercise. Security has been beefed up in sensitive polling booths and monitored round the clock through CCTV surveillance.
Casual elections, to fill vacant posts, is also being be held in the other 28 districts today.
Tamil Nadu rural local body elections: First phase voter turnout
The first phase of the rural local body polls in Tamil Nadu, which concluded on October 6, witnessed a voter turnout of 74.37 per cent. Voting was peaceful overall with a few instances of boycott, delay in polling, and violence being recorded in some of the districts. There were 79,433 candidates in the fray for 23,998 posts.
In the first phase, the polls were held to elect 78 district panchayat ward members, 755 panchayat union ward members, 1,577 village panchayat presidents, and 12,252 panchayat ward members.
According to the SEC, while Kancheepuram witnessed a voter turnout of 80 per cent, Chengalpet saw 67 per cent, Villupuram 81.36 per cent, Kallakurichi 72 per cent, Vellore 67 per cent, Ranipet 81 per cent, Tirupathur 78 per cent, Tirunelveli 69 per cent, and Tenkasi 74 per cent.
Although the last one hour was reserved for Covid-19 patients and those with symptoms, the turnout was considerably low. At certain polling booths, complaints were raised about the lack of facilities for people with physically disabilities. Voters claimed ramp facilities were not available.
The main parties contesting the elections are the ruling DMK and its principal opposition AIADMK. The Left parties who are part of the DMK-led alliance are contesting alone in several districts. The Pattali Makkal Katchi is contesting on its own in all nine districts, and the BJP is contesting alone in the Kallakurichi district.
During the first phase, AIADMK had accused the DMK of violating the Madras High Court’s order on conduct of elections. AIADMK leaders O Panneerselvam and Edappadi K Palaniswami had also urged the SEC to conduct the polls without giving room to any complaints.
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