Curtains came down on the second and final phase of the panchayat polls in Tamil Nadu on Monday evening with 77.73% polling reported. The local body polls for rural Tamil Nadu took place over two phases on December 27 and December 30.
The polling, which began at 7 am in 158 panchayat unions amid tight security, proceeded in a largely peaceful and smooth manner across 27 districts in Tamil Nadu.
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 first phase of the elections for the rural local bodies was held on December 27 and saw 76.19% polling, the Tamil Nadu State Election Commission said. 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.
Recently the Madras High Court rejected a petition from Sattapanchayat Iyakkam which sought an order to restrain from publishing the results of the rural local body polls on January 2. In his petition, Senthil Arumugam, the General Secretary of the NGO stated that in 1996, 2001, 2006 and 2011 local body elections were held simultaneously in rural and urban areas, but this time it was being conducted for rural local bodies alone from December 27 to December 30 in 27 districts.
Conducting such separate elections in two parts was against level-playing field which is mandatory in a democratic election and the announcement of results in one phase, scheduled now on January 2, would affect the polls in other parts, yet to be notified, he stated in his petition, adding that this would prejudice the minds of the people.
(With IANS inputs)