Elections

Tamil Nadu records lower voter turnout than 2014 Lok Sabha election

G Balachandar Chennai | Updated on April 18, 2019 Published on April 18, 2019

Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami waiting in a queue to exercise his franchise at a polling booth for Lok Sabha Election in his native village Siluvampalayam near Edappadi town in Salem district in Tamil Nadu on Thursday, April 18, 2019.   -  THE HINDU

Chennai sees the lowest percentage

Tamil Nadu has registered voters' turnout of 70.90 per cent (as of 9 pm on Thursday) for the 2019 Lok Sabha election, lower than 73.68 per cent recorded during the 2014 Lok Sabha election.

Polling to 38 Lok Sabha and 18 Assembly constituencies in the State was relatively peaceful, barring a few sporadic incidents of violence. Political pundits did expect a higher turnout considering the ‘double anti-incumbency’ that was supposedly in play. The State is witnessing a multi-cornered contest, including alliances led by the AIADMK and the DMK apart from other smaller parties.

Namakkal reported the highest polling at 79.75 per cent, while Chennai Central, where Dayanidhi Maran is contesting, and Chennai South, recorded lowest voters’ turnout at 57.86 per cent and 57.43 per cent respectively.

Average polling share of Chennai, which has three Lok Sabha Constituencies, was 59.01 per cent. Last time, the average turnout was 61.94 per cent in Chennai.

As the polling began at 7 am, people across the State lined up infront of their respective polling booths to cast their votes. Soaring mercury did not deter them from exercising their franchise.

Several booths in Chennai witnessed many first-time voters enthusiastically standing in queues to cast their voters. Elders in the age group of 60 plus also voted eagerly.

In Coimbatore, volunteers were seen helping the disabled to exercise their franchise.

EVM malfunction

However, many booths in Chennai and in other parts of Tamil Nadu faced malfunctioning of EVMs, which led to delay in casting vote. Though EVMs were repaired, people fumed over the delay in doing their duty. This time, people complained about the non-supply of booth slips by electoral officers. In areas such as Pazhavanthangal in Chennai, people had to contact a former councillor, who helped the people find their respective booths.

For the first time in the State, all polling booths were equipped with VVPAT machines, which will allow voters to verify whether their vote was cast in favour of their candidates .

Though there were videos on social media and campaigns through other mediums about the use of the VVPAT machine, only few people appeared to have taken note of it. Electoral officers also guided people to check the display after pressing the button.

Meanwhile, hundreds of people faced difficulties in reaching their native places from Chennai due to inadequate bus services from the State capital. People who booked their tickets also had to wait for a few hours before boarding. With crowd losing patience, minor disturbances were witnessed, which resulted in a mild lathicharge by the police.

Published on April 18, 2019
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