Chennai: Amidst opposition charges of
irregularities, polling in the first phase of local bodies
elections for over 1.3 lakh posts in Tamil Nadu passed off
by and large peacefully on Monday.
Elections were held for 10 Corporations, including Chennai,
and several municiaplities and other local bodies in a
triangular contest involving the state`s ruling AIADMK, DMK
and actor-politician Vijaykant`s DMDK-led alliance comprising
CPI-M and CPI. Congress fought the polls on its own.
While AIADMK general secretary and Chief Minsiter J
Jayalalithaa banked on performance and restoration of law and
order to see her party through in the polls, DMK chief M
Karunanidhi exuded similar confidence.
Polling was largely peaceful but for stray incidents such
as a scuffle here in which a woman was injured. No major
incident was reported, police said.
State Election Commissioner S Ayyar told reporters that
barring "a few minor incidents", the polling was peaceful. He
said there were no reports of booth-capturing.
He rejected as rumours most of the charges levelled by
opposition parties but said every complaint was looked into.
Chennai Corporation recorded 48 per cent polling while
Salem and Tiruppur registered 68 per cent, he said.
He said village panchayats reported 78 per cent polling,
town panchayats 72 per cent and municipalities 72 per cent.
On the low voter turnout in the city, Ayyar said since
1996 the percentage has been more or less similar.
The opposition parties levelled charges of bogus voting and
non-compliance of the Madras High Court`s orders on
video graphing the polling process.
DMK filed complaints with the Chief Justice of the court,
the SEC and the Police Commissioner regarding the alleged
Chennai Coporation Commissioner Karthikeyan said though
around 5,000 persons, including students, had volunteered to
operate the web cameras in response to efforts taken by the
SEC, several of them did not turn up this morning.
The second and final phase of elections is scheduled on
October 19 and the counting on October 21.