Tamil Nadu: Polling in first phase of rural LB polls begins

Chennai: Polling in the first of the two phase ordinary elections to rural local bodies in nine newly carved districts of Tamil Nadu, began on Wednesday morning, amid tight security
The polling process commenced at 0700 hrs in Chengalpattu, Kallakurichi, Kancheepuram, Ranipet, Tenkasi, Tirunelveli, Tirupattur, Vellore and Villupuram districts, where the polls could not be held in December 2019 due to the delimitation exercise.
Polling will be held till 6 p.m, with the last hour — 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.—reserved for COVID-19 patients and patients with symptoms of the viral infection.
More than 17,000 police personnel and over 3,400 home guards were deployed on security day for the first phase elections.
The nine districts have a total of 76,59,720 electorates. Of them, 37,77,524 are men and 38,81,361 are women while 835 are transgenders. An estimated 41.93 lakh voters will cast their ballot in the first phase in 7,921 polling booths.
A total of 27,003 posts are to be filled — 140 district panchayat ward members, 1,381 panchayat union ward members for 74 panchayat unions and 22,581 village panchayat ward members posts in 2,901 village panchayat presidents.
Of the total strength of 27,003 posts, 2,981 candidates were declared elected unopposed and 79,433 candidates are in the fray in the elections.
In the first phase, polling is being held for 78 district district panchayat ward member posts, 755 panchayat union ward member posts, 1,577 village panchayat president posts and 12,252 village panchayat ward member posts.
Each voter will be casting four votes and they are being given four ballot papers of different colours. The polls will witness a direct fight between the ruling DMK, contesting with its existing alliance partners which were part of Assembly polls, and the Opposition AIADMK.
The PMK, which had contested the May Assembly polls as an ally of the AIADMK, decided to go it alone, citing paucity of time. However, AIADMK’s other allies, the BJP and TMC continue to remain in the front.