Polling for the single phase of Assembly elections in Puducherry began on Tuesday at 7 am, with people queuing up at the booths early to cast their vote. Voting began at 7 am simultaneously in all four regions of Puducherry, Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam, to elect 30 legislators. As of 3 pm, the polling percentage at Puducherry was 56.95%.
Puducherry recorded an average of 35.64% polling as of 12.30 pm, and at 11 am, the overall polling percentage in the Union Territory was 20.07%. While Puducherry clocked 19.92%, Karaikal registered 20.70%, Mahe 15.46% and Yanam 24.17%. In the 2016 election, Puducherry recorded 81.94% voter turnout. While the polling is still underway on Tuesday, the turnout may be affected by the COVID-19 situation there.
Puducherry and its outlying regions have a strength of 10.04 lakh voters. There are 324 contestants sponsored by political parties and independents in the fray for the election. N Rangaswamy, founder leader of the All India NR Congress (AINRC), which is heading the National Democratic Alliance in Puducherry, is among the important candidates in the poll fray. Former Chief Minister V Narayanasamy opted out of the poll battle.
While AINRC is contesting in 16 seats, its alliance partner BJP woos voters in nine segments, and the AIADMK in the remaining five seats. The Congress is contesting 14 seats and supports an independent candidate in Yanam and its allies-- the DMK in 13, VCK and CPI the other constituents of the alliance led by Congress have fielded one candidate each.
There are 1558 polling booths that have been set up across Puducherry. The authorities have set up one all women polling booth in every constituency. Security, including police and Central Armed police personnel, have been deployed in strength to ensure peaceful polling. Around 330 booths have been identified as vulnerable.
(With PTI inputs)