Heavy polling in Pudukottai, Perambalur

45-year-old man, who allegedly damaged a VVPAT unit, was arrested

Voters turned out in large numbers to exercise their franchise in Pudukottai district on Tuesday. Election was by and large peaceful in the district barring an incident in Aranthangi assembly constituency where a 45-year-old man allegedly damaged a VVPAT unit leading to his arrest.

Adhering to the State government’s directive, voters wore masks while turning up at the respective polling booth and awaited their turn patiently braving the intense heat to cast their vote.

Although personal distancing was noticed in many booths in the early stages of polling in several booths, it was not strictly adhered to as the turnout of voters began to steadily rise as time passed. Nevertheless, a vast majority of voters of all age groups wore masks and those found not wearing it were advised to adhere to the safety protocol by the teams of workers deployed within the polling station premises. Those with physical disability and the elders were not made to wait for long to cast their vote. Polling commenced at the scheduled time of 7 a.m. all over the district although technical glitches in machines were reported in a few of them in the early stages which were rectified thereafter.

The polling percentage gradually rose in all the six assembly constituencies in the district as time passed. At 5 p.m. the total polling percentage recorded in the district was 66.3 according to official sources. Voters armed with booth slips, voter IDs and some with Aadhaar cards promptly turned up at the polling booths. Some among them were new voters. R. Lokeswari studying engineering and a first time voter from Pudukottai Town said she felt excited to exercise her franchise. The same was echoed by another first time voter Katherine, a resident of Viralimalai, pursuing an MBBS course in the Philippines. She had come back home due to COVID-19 pandemic. "I feel happy to vote as it is my duty", she said.

Security was stepped up across the district in view of polling with para-military personnel deployed at booths identified as “vulnerable”. The entire polling exercise was by and large peaceful and voters complied with the safety protocol of wearing a mask while coming to the booths, District Collector P. Uma Maheswari told The Hindu‘. A total number of 1,902 booths were established all over Pudukottai district for the voters to exercise their franchise.

Polling went on smoothly in Perambalur district with no untoward incidents reported, Collector P. Sri Venkata Priya said. All safety protocols were adhered to at the polling booths including collection of bio- medical waste. Polling commenced at the scheduled time in all the booths in Perambalur district although some minor technical glitches were noticed in few VVPAT units warranting their replacement immediately.

The Collector said wheelchairs had been provided at the polling booths where security personnel had been deployed to ensure smooth conduct of the elections. The entire exercise went off smoothly.

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