November 20, 2016
Chennai: Polls for Aravakkurichi and Thanjavur and by-polls for Thirupparankundram and Nellithope seat in neighbouring Puducherry saw an impressive turnout in a peaceful atmosphere amid tight security, with the voting percentage crossing the 80 per cent in two of the assembly segments.
While Aravakkurichi in Karur district registered the highest turnout of 81.92 per cent in Tamil Nadu, Nellithope in Puducherry witnessed 85.76 percentage polling. Thanjavur, the hub of the Cauvery basin which saw a series of protests over the river water issue with Karnataka since October, witnessed 69.02 per cent voting. Thirupparankundram in Madurai district, where a by-poll was necessitated due to the passing away of AIADMK MLA (2016 May polls) S M Seenivel polled 70.19 per cent votes according to the Election Commission.
Though various parties, including BJP, PMK and DMDK were in the fray, the main fight was between the ruling AIADMK and the main Opposition DMK. Over 5,000 personnel, including paramilitary forces, local police and Armed Reserve units, were deployed for poll-related duties and there were nearly 1,000 micro observers.
In Puducherry, incumbent Congress leader and Chief Minister V Narayanasamy, a non-member of the assembly, is seeking to enter the House by contesting from Nellithope. Congress has the support of DMK and VCK and Stalin campaigned for Narayanasamy. AIADMK’s ex-MLA Om Sakthi Segar was pitted against Narayanasamy.
All arrangements as part of measures to ensure free and fair polls, including web casting and videography, were put in place in all three constituencies with enhanced focus on sensitive locations, election officials said. Amenities, including drinking water and ramps for the differently-abled to access polling stations, were made available to voters, they added. Counting of votes is on 22 November and results are expected to be announced the same day.