Moderate polling in Lok Sabha election amid tight security in Vellore

Chennai: Slow to moderate polling was witnessed during the early hours of today for the election to Vellore Lok Sabha Constituency.

The average percentage of voting in the constituency till 11 am was 14.61 per cent. The highest voting was registered at K V Kuppam, which betters the average at 16.90 per cent. An estimated 18.85 lakh voters, 9.58 lakh of them women, are exercising their franchise from 7 am today.

About 1,553 polling booths have been set up in the constituency. Micro-observers have been asked to take charge of the 133 sensitive polling booths in 68 identified locations. Tight security has been provided to all voting centres.

The election would decide the fate of 28 candidates, three of them women, with a majority of them being Independents. The Lok Sabha seat consists of six Assembly segments that include Vellore, Anaikattu, Kilvaithinankuppam, Gudiyattam, Vaniyambadi and Ambur.

A day before the polling, 11 computers, two CCTV cameras, meant for polling, were found stolen from a school coming under the Gudiyattam Assembly segment. However, the authorities ensured that alternative arrangements were made.

The high voltage campaign for the polls came to an end 6 pm, 3 August, when the leaders of both the ruling AIADMK and the Opposition DMK made a last ditch effort to woo the electorate.

The election was earlier scheduled for 18 April, but was rescinded following seizure of cash from the premises of DMK candidate Kathir Anand, who is also the son of DMK treasurer and former minister Durai Murugan.

The DMK has re-nominated Kathir as its candidate, while the AIADMK, too, has renominated NJP founder A C Shanmugham for the seat.

Shanmugam is contesting the seat for the third time. He had also served as Arni MLA in 1980 and Vellore MP in 1984. He lost to the AIADMK candidate B Senguttuvan in 2014 Lok Sabha polls and was now contesting for the third time.

The elections witness a three-cornered contest, though the main fight will be between the AIADMK and DMK. The third nominee in the fray is Deepalakshmi of Naam Thamizhar Katchi of actor-director Seeman. Counting of votes would be taken up 9 August.

NT Bureau