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Polling ends peacefully in high stakes battle in Vikravandi Assembly bye-elections in TN

Polling ends peacefully in high stakes battle in Vikravandi Assembly bye-elections in TN

Chennai, July 10 (UNI) Polling in the high stakes Assembly bye-election to the Vikravandi seat in Tamil Nadu ended on Wednesday evening.
Polling, which began at 7.00 am amid tight security, passed off peacefully and ended at 6.00 pm in the evening.
The gates of polling centres were closed at 6.00 pm and those who had already entered the booths
to vote in some of the Centres, would be issued tokens and allowed to vote.
The polling process will end only after those who were issued tokens cast their ballots.
After this, the EVMs will be sealed and taken to strong rooms, where a three-tier security will be put
in place, including deployment of armed central para-military forces.
A total of 2,800 police personnel, including central para-military forces were deployed on security duty across the constituency to ensure a peaceful polling.
While 1,355 officials were involved on poll duty, more than 50 microbservers monitored the polling process in the booths identified as vulnerable.
The counting will take place on July 13.
No major untoward incident was reported during polling, barring an incident when a woman voter Kanimozhi (49) suffered a minor injury after she was stabbed in her neck by her estranged first husband, Elumalai (52), when she was standing in the queue in a polling booth to cast her ballot.
She, however, came back after getting first aid in a government hospital, and exercised her democratic right.
Police personnel on security duty in the booth, overpowered him and arrested her husband, who
had returned from jail only yesterday after his arrest in a double murder case.
Right from the moment polling began, a large number of voters turned out to cast their ballot.
Brisk polling was reported as people, braving the searing heat, stood in long queues to vote.
The polling percentage kept increasing with every passing hour as an estimated 77.73 per cent
of the 2.37 lakh voters exercised their franchise in the bypoll till 5.00 pm.
In the first two hours till 9.00 am, the polling percentage was 12.94. It went up to 29.97 by 11.00 am, 50.95 per cent by 1.00 pm, 64.44 per cent at 3.00 pm and 77.73 per cent at 5.00 pm.
This is the fifth election and the second bypoll to be held in this constituency.
This bypoll could witness a record turnout as the average polling percentage was more than 80 per cent in the elections held since 2011, when the constituency came into being after the delimitation exercise in 2007.
In 2011 the voter turnout was 81.39 per cent, 81.71 per cent in 2016, 84.35 in 2019 (bypoll), 82.04 in 2021.
Going by voter's response, this trend is expected to continue and the final poll percentage would be known after compilation of datas from all the 276 polling booths in this predominantly agrarian constituency.
District Election Officer and Collector C. Palani visited various polling booths and ensured that voting was held in a peaceful manner.
The District Administration has declared dry days for three days from July 8 to 10 and also on July 13 (the counting day) in the entire Villupuram district in view of the bypoll.
Despite this, seven people were hospitalised after they consumed liquor purchased from Puducherry and complained of vomitting and giddiness. Five of them were discharged after treatment, while two were undergoing treatment at the government hospital as they were habitual drinkers and were suffering from jaundice.
The fate of 29 candidates, including those of the ruling DMK, the PMK and the NTK, were sealed in the EVMS in this bypoll.
Though the no-holds barred bypoll witnessed a three cornered contest between the ruling DMK-led Front, the BJP-led alliance and the Naam Tamizhar Katchi (NTK), the main contest was between Anniyur Siva of DMK and BJP's ally PMK candidate C.Anbumani. NTK's Dr P.Anuradha is the other main candidate in the fray, while the rest were Independents.
The main Opposition AIADMK and its ally, the DMDK, have boycotted the polls alleging it will not be held in a free and fair manner as the ruling DMK will use its muscle and money power to win the polls.
The bypoll to the Vikravandi seat in Villuppuram district, a DMK stronghold, was necessitated following the death of sitting DMK MLA N.Pughazhendi, who is also a senior party functionary in
the district.
He died in April after suffering health issues on his return after attending an election campaign meeting addresses by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK President M.K.Stalin.
Of the four elections held so far, the DMK had won twice and was aiming for its third win. The seat was held by CPI(M) in 2011, the DMK in 2016, the AIADMK in 2019 bypoll and by DMK in 2021.
This is the third bye-election to be held after the DMK came to power in May 2021 after a gap of ten years, winning the Assembly polls by a resounding margin and Mr Stalin becoming Chief Minister for the first time after his elevation as the DMK Party Chief following the death of his father and DMK Patriarch M.Karunanidhi in August 2018.
The previous bypolls were held for Erode Assembly seat due to death of Congress MLA Thirumagan E.Ve.Raa and his father, former Union Minister and former TNCC Chief EVKS Elangovan contested
it and won by a margin of over 50,000 votes.
The other bypoll was held for Vilavancode seat along with the recent Lok Sabha polls on April 19 following the resignation of Congress MLA S.Vijayadharani, who had quit upon joining the BJP. The Congress retained the seat winning by a margin of nearly 41,000 votes.
Mr Palani also inspected the arrangements made for the counting of votes at the Government
Higher Secondary School at Panayapuram near Villupuram and ensured that all basic amenities
are put in place.
UNI GV 1833

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