Polling in the Nilgiris went off smoothly, with no major incidents or clashes, reported in any of the 868 polling booths across the district on Tuesday. However, 10 VVPAT machines, two ballot units and two control units which were faulty had to be changed.
Polling began slowly with less than five % of the total votes polled till 10 a.m, but picked up quickly afterwards. The overall voting percentage in the Nilgiris was 69.60 %, with 69.81 % of registered voters turning out to vote in Coonoor, 72.17 % in Gudalur and 67.05 % in Udhagamandalam.
In polling booths located close to hamlets inside reserve forests, police as well as forest department staff accompanied voters, mostly tribals to the polling booths.
Diana, a Toda woman from Muthanad Mund near Udhagamandalam, said that members of the community had not wanted to go to the polling booths early fearing that there would be crowds. “However, we all decided to go out and vote at around noon,” said Ms. Diana, who said that she found it extremely easy to cast her vote this time due to the preparations undertaken.
“Everyone waited patiently in the queue, wearing masks and maintaining personal distancing, while election officials also were extremely clear with their instructions on how to use the EVM machine,” she said.
Though polling itself was without incident, the AIADMK’s candidate contesting in Coonoor, D. Vinoth, was not allowed to leave the village of Thuthurmattam after local residents and DMK cadres accused him of distributing cash to voters on the eve of the elections. The incident occurred on late Monday night. Police rushed to the spot and spent over two hours dispersing the crowd. District election officer and Collector, J. Innocent Divya, said that a case has been registered against Mr. Vinoth for campaigning past the deadline, which ended on Monday evening.
Of the COVID-19 patients in the district, 29 persons exercised their franchise.
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