The process of counting of votes polled in the two-phased rural local bodies held on December 27 and 30 in Tamil Nadu began on Thursday morning. Tight security has been deployed at the 315 counting centres across the state.
The elections for the rural local bodies were held in two phases in 27 districts, barring the nine newly carved ones in line with the Supreme Court's order.
The ballot papers in four different colours were used in the poll instead of the electronic voting machines (EVM). Before counting the votes, the ballot papers were segregated based on their colours.
According to the Tamil Nadu State Election Commission (TNSEC), the first phase saw polling of 76.19 per cent, and the second phase saw 77.73 per cent.
Over 2.31 lakh contested the polls for 91,975 posts. The posts include: Gram Panchayat Ward member, Gram Panchayat President, Panchayat Union ward member and District Panchayat Union Ward member posts.
A total electorate of 1.28 crore were eligible to vote at 25,008 polling booths to elect 38,916 panchayat members, 2,544 members of panchayat unions and 255 ward members of district panchayats. About 40,000 police personnel were deployed on security duty to ensure peaceful polling across the state.
The local body polls, which concluded on December 30, concerns only the rural areas and the elections to urban local bodies is yet to be notified by the State Election Commission. The local body polls in Tamil Nadu were originally scheduled for 2016 and are being held after a delay of three years.
A Tamil Nadu based NGO, Sattapanchayat Iyakkam, petitioned the High Court, requesting that results of the election not be declared till the polls were conducted in the urban areas as well. The NGO stated that in 1996, 2001, 2006 and 2011 local body elections were held simultaneously in rural and urban areas. This time around, however, it was being conducted for rural local bodies alone from December 27 to December 30 in 27 districts.
The NGO pointed out that the results of elections in rural areas would affect the urban polls as well, therefore not allowing for a level playing field. The High Court, however, rejected the petition.
(With inputs from IANS)