The Assembly segments of Vikravandi and Nanguneri in Tamil Nadu and Kamaraj Nagar in Puducherry are witnessing brisk polling and each one of these seats have registered over 50 percent voting till 3 p.m. The voting exercise for the by-elections, which began at 7 a.m amid tight security, is continuing at a brisk phase in all the three constituencies.
According to poll officials, Vikravandi (Villupuram district) and Nanguneri (Tirunelveli) have clocked 65.79 percent and 52.18 percent respectively up to 3 p.m at the end of the fourth round. In the Kamaraj Nagar segment, 56.16 percent polling was recorded.
As the voting exercise began, women outnumbered men in a number of polling stations in Vikravandi and Nanguneri. Both youngsters and senior citizens showed equal interest in exercising their franchise. Tamil Nadu Chief Electoral Officer Satyabrata Sahoo said the election process is going on "smoothly and very peacefully."
All voters who reach the booths before 6 pm will be allowed to vote, he added. In Puducherry, where the ruling Congress party's A John Kumar and the Opposition AINRC nominee S Bhuvaneswaran are the key contenders, police took into custody three people allegedly belonging to the Congress for distributing "tokens," to people near a polling station.
Leaders of the opposition AIADMK and AINRC staged a road roko urging the election authorities to take action against those who had resorted to "alluring voters" by allegedly distributing tokens encashable later for purchasing household products. In Nanguneri, which has 2.57 lakh voters, 23 candidates are in the fray and Vikravandi with 2.23 lakh electors, 12 nominees are trying their luck. The voting exercise was delayed in a couple of polling stations in Nanguneri in view of glitches in EVMs.
The ruling AIADMK's M R Muthamizhselvan and DMK's N Pugazhendhi are locked in a straight fight in Vikravandi. Nanguneri is seeing a direct contest between DMK backed Congress nominee 'Ruby' R Manoharan and AIADMK's Reddiyarpatti V Narayanan. In both these constituencies, filmmaker-turned- politician Seeman-led Naam Tamilar Katchi is expected to cut into the vote share of both the Dravidian majors to an extent.
All the 574 polling stations in Vikravandi (275) and Nanguneri (299) are covered by live web streaming. In Vikravandi, 18 polling stations are "critical," and 32 "vulnerable." As regards Nanguneri, there are no critical polling booths and there are 110 vulnerable stations. Over 3,000 personnel are on duty for the bypolls in Tamil Nadu. About six companies of paramilitary forces are on the ground in the two segments for the by-elections.
Kamaraj Nagar has 35,009 voters, and of the 32 polling stations there, seven are vulnerable. In addition to local police, one company of Central police forces has been deployed in the Union Territory.