Polling is underway in Vellore where it is a contest between the AIADMK alliance’s AC Shanmugam and DMK’s Kathir Anand.

Vellore Lok Sabha seat goes to polls amid tight securityImage for representation
news Elections Monday, August 05, 2019 - 09:04

Elections to the Vellore Lok Sabha seat in Tamil Nadu are currently underway even as 1,553 polling booths have been placed under tight security. Polling commenced at 7 am on Monday to the 39th parliamentary constituency from the state after a round of mock polls were held. 

Elections to the seat were cancelled just two days prior to Tamil Nadu voting in the second phase of the parliamentary polls and the 22-seat bye-elections. Cash, meant to bribe voters, had been recovered from the properties of DMK functionaries in the district. 

Speaking to media persons on Monday, Vellore Collector A Shanumuga Sundram, who also serves as the Returning Officer for the polls said there had been no poll-related issues. “1,553 polling booths have completed mock polls. Polling has commenced. It's going peacefully, there are no issues so far. The government is making efforts to conduct a fair election,” he said.

The DMK’s DM Kathir Anand is up against AC Shanmugam of the Puthiya Needhi Katchi, part of the AIADMK alliance.  

During the April 18 elections in the state, many voters had complained that they had been turned away for want of a booth slip that the local election authorities are supposed to distribute. The Collector said on Monday, “Lot of people think that the booth slip is compulsory. It is not. Even if booth slips are not there, the Election Commission has designated 11 documents. These can be used for voting.”

On average, in both the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and the 2016 Tamil Nadu Assembly polls, Vellore had witnessed only 75 percent polling, he said, adding, “25 percent of the people have not voted. Every five years, this is our duty and right. We have undertaken SWEEP awareness campaigns across the district,” he said.

Twenty companies of the Central Armed Paramilitary Force (CAPF) have been stationed in the constituency with 1,600 personnel across 430 booths. Micro observers are present in 210 booths. Web-streaming has been enabled in 850 booths. The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) is patrolling the area in and around 190 booths, the Collector informed.

On Sunday, Rs 11 lakh in cash had been seized in the district. For a constituency that became the first in the country to witness elections being cancelled on account of cash-for-votes,  an amount of Rs 3.76 crore has been seized as of Monday, in cash and materials.

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