Brisk polling in many parts of western Tamil Nadu

Voters, with nil covid-19 compliance, were seen standing in long serpentine queues outside polling stations in many parts of the eight revenue districts in the region.

At the stroke of 7 a.m. on Tuesday, voters were seen standing in long serpentine queues outside polling stations in many parts of western Tamil Nadu, comprising eight revenue districts.

In fact, the staff were caught unawares, even as they were indulging in preparatory work and mock polling. In many polling stations, conservancy workers were busy cleaning and marking personal distancing circles. This resulted in crowding of voters and only after 9.30 a.m. the number of people gradually reduced.

At a booth in Nanjundapuram in Coimbatore, the brisk turnout triggered a debate among the booth agents on whether it was anti-incumbency only to be countered quickly that voters want to discharge their duty before the mercury levels rise.

Kinathukkadavu, Pollachi and Valparai Assembly constituencies witnessed a brisk turnout. While there was optimal observation of COVID-19 norms in urban areas in terms of personal distancing, wearing of masks and use of sanitisers, rural areas almost saw nil compliance.

Polling was largely incident free in Tiruppur district. The first hour of polling did not witness any untoward incident, officials said on Tuesday.

Voting began at 3,343 polling stations in the eight Assembly constituencies in Tiruppur at 7 a.m. District Election Officer and Collector K. Vijayakarthikeyan exercised his franchise at the polling station in Bishop Ubagaraswamy Higher Secondary School in Kumar Nagar.

Polling booths saw significant queues in the first hour of polling itself in Salem and Namakkal.

Assembly Speaker votes

Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly Speaker P. Dhanapal voted at a booth at Gugai in Salem.

COVID-19 safety protocols are ensured at booths, with voters’ being checked for temperature and provided hand sanitisers and disposable gloves.

Wheelchairs were made available for assistance to elderly and differently-abled citizens.

Barring glitches reported on 10 Electronic Voting Machines, which were eventually replaced, polling went unhindered for the six Assembly constituencies in the first hour and half.

However, false alarms were sounded when some clueless partymen punched the symbols and not the buttons and then reported ‘glitches’.

Meanwhile, passengers staged a demonstration in the New Bus Terminus in Tiruppur Corporation limits alleging lack of bus services to other districts. S. Murugananthan, a professional from Tiruppur, claimed he was waiting for a bus to Tiruchi since 5.45 a.m. The police visited the spot and held talks with the passengers.

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