Second phase polling for rural local body begins in Tamilnadu

Chennai: Polling for the second and final phase of rural local bodies in 158 Panchayat Unions of Tamilnadu began at 7 am, amid tight security.

According to reports, about eight to ten per cent polling was recorded in the first two hours. Barring some minor hitches, like power failure in a booth in Madurai, the polling was proceeding peacefully.

The places where the polling is on has been brought under tight security and more than 40,000 police personnel have been deployed on duty to ensure a smooth and peaceful polling.

Apart from live webcasting of the poll process, the State Election Commission (SEC) was also videographing it in all the 25,008 booths. Micro observers were also posted in all the booths.

SEC said 76.19 per cent turn out was registered during the first phase on Friday and an estimated 1.28 crore voters are expected to cast their ballots in the second phase.

Polling was being held in 158 panchayat unions to elect 255 ward members of district panchayats, 2,544 members of panchayat unions and 38,916 panchayat members.

Long queues were seen in several booths as enthusiastic voters turned up in large numbers to exercise their democratic right.

Every voter has to cast four votes in the polls. They would be voting to elect Panchayat Ward Members, Gram Panchayat President, Panchayat Union Ward Members and District Panchayat Union Ward members.

Along with the second phase, repoll was also on in 13 booths of the 15th ward in Viralimalai Panchayat Union after the symbol of a candidate was wrongly printed during the first phase polling.

Similarly re-poll was also on for the 21st ward in Uthangarai in Krishnagiri district as the symbol of independent candidate was wrongly printed in the ballot paper.

A report from Dindugul district said voters in Kavunji village in upper Kodaikanal hills, hoisted black flags in their houses and boycotted the elections. A mere three votes were polled in the village in the first two hours.

In a booth at Sivagiripatti in Palani panchayat union, the polling was delayed by an hour due to the delay in opening the sealed ballot box.

The SEC on Sunday night cancelled polls for six posts of ward members of Villipathiri village panchayat under Aruppukottai panchayat union in the southern Virudhunagar district after officials found that allocation of symbols to the candidates of wards 1,3,5,6,7 and 8 was not done as per rules.

However, the voters of these wards would cast their votes for the remaining posts of village president, panchayat Union ward number and district Panchayat ward number.

Polling began after a delay of 45 minutes at a booth in Nallichathiram in the district after doubts were raised over the ballot paper. However, the polling process commenced after officials clarified the doubts.

The votes polled in the two-phase elections will be counted on 2 January, 2020 and the results will be announced the same day. The newly elected Ward members will assume office on 6 January by taking oath or affirmation. The meeting of Ward members would be held on 11 January to elect Chairman and Vice-Chairman.

NT Bureau