Tamilnadu civic elections: Brisk voting in first phase

Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami casting his vote at Siluvampalayam in Salem district today.

Chennai: Brisk voting was witnessed during the first phase of polls to elect Councillors, Panchayat presidents and Ward Members for the rural local bodies today.

In most places, polling took place in a peaceful manner. There was a brief pause of voting in Thiruvallur as a few ballot papers already had seal on them. Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami cast his vote after standing in the queue at Siluvampalayam in Edappadi in Salem district.

Even as the polling was in progress, DMK today filed a petition seeking tight protection to the stations where the ballot boxes will be kept after the polling.

In the petition, DMK has sought that surveillance cameras should be fixed in the centres. The court has said that the case will be taken up for hearing on 30 December.

Meanwhile, tension prevailed in Thoothukudi district today after an AIADMK candidate Vincent, who contested for Mappillai Oorani village panchayat President post, went missing. A search was launched for him.

The second phase will be held on 30 December. The dates for the much awaited polls were announced by the State Election Commission earlier this month.

The polls are being held excluding the nine districts where the delimitation exercise has to be completed. These districts are Kancheepuram, Chengalpet, Vellore, Tirupattur, Ranipet, Villupuram, Kallakurichi, Tirunelveli and Tenkasi.

According to sources, nearly 1.30 crore voters were set to exercise their franchise today and about 1.28 crore in the second phase. Around three lakh election officials have been engaged in poll related works The counting of votes will take place on 2 January. Winners will assume office on 6 January.

Following this, indirect elections to President posts will be held on 11 January from 7 am to 5 pm. Every voter has to cast four votes in rural local bodies. Election officials said that arrangements have been made in such a way that voters do not get confused. Elections is being held for about 91,000 posts. About 2,30,000 voters are in the fray for the rural body election which will be held in two phases.

NT Bureau