More Than 69% Voter Turnout in Tamil Nadu

Women standing in queue to cast their vote during assembly elections in Coimbatore on Monday. Credit: PTI

Women standing in queue to cast their vote during assembly elections in Coimbatore on Monday. Credit: PTI

Chennai: Tamil Nadu recorded a voter turnout of a little over 69% in the assembly elections on Monday, according to the Election Commission. Rural voters seemed more enthusiastic than their city counterparts to exercise their franchise, going by available statistics.

As many as 69.19% of voters in 232 assembly segments had cast their votes by 5 pm, electoral authorities said, even as there was a dip in the pace of polling after 3 pm. “Voting pace came down after 3 pm and it was not as high as it was in the morning,” Chief Electoral Officer Rajesh Lakhoni told reporters.

He was responding to a query on polling percentage showing an increase of just around 6% between 3 pm and 5 pm, despite the EC’s massive efforts to ensure high voter turnout by way of its #Mission100percent campaign.

Rural segments in Dharmapuri such as Pennagaram put up a good show, Lakhoni said, adding that the Chennai district seemed to be heading towards the lowest polling percentage in the current listings.

The Harbor constituency polled just around 53% whereas Pennagaram in Dharmapuri around 8% till 5 pm, he said. “This (voting percentage) is the hard fact. We will have to analyse the reasons behind it,” he added.

Polling had been largely peaceful except for stray incidents, Lakhoni said. For instance, at Muthugulathur in Ramanathapuram, a man tried to damage an EVM in a fit of rage on finding his name missing from voters’ list, but the machine was not damaged. The man was arrested.

In the Madurai central constituency, the chief polling officer in a booth was replaced after she allegedly misled a visually-challenged voter to vote for a person not of his choice.

Polling came to a close at 6 pm in most constituencies, even as voters who came before the cut-off time were allowed to vote, officials said.

EVMs will be opened for the ballots to be counted on Thursday.

Elections in Aravakurichi and Thanjavur, deferred following allegations of bribing of voters, will be held on May 23 and counting of votes on May 25.