Polling for by-elections to two Tamil Nadu assembly constituencies began on Saturday morning amidst tight security. Polling was peaceful with people queuing up at the booths in Vandavasi and Tiruchendur, where the by-polls are being held, said the police. Besides state police, paramilitary forces have also been deployed, especially in sensitive booths, to ensure peaceful polling, officials said.
The by-polls were necessitated by the death of Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam Member of Legislative Assembly SC Jayaraman at Vandavasi and resignation of former All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam MLA Anitha R Radhakrishnan at Tiruchendur. The counting will be held on December 23. After the Lok Sabha polls, this is the first time that arch-rivals DMK and AIADMK are on the electoral battle turf, as the latter had boycotted the by-polls to five assembly seats in August.
Actor-politician Vijayakant's Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam is also in the fray. The Election Commission, for the first time in the state, has taken measures to capture on web cameras, images of all voters at the time of polling, which will be compared with their images available in the central servers database of electoral photo rolls, to quickly act on any possible discrepancy.
The comparison will be done at a control room at the office of Chief Electoral Officer Naresh Gupta.
Voting began on Saturday in Yaiskul assembly constituency of Imphal East district where by-elections were necessitated after the death of a Congress MLA. Voting started at 7 am and will end at 3 pm.
Central paramilitary forces, including the Border Security Force and the Central Reserve Police Force, have been heavily deployed at all 28 polling stations, in view of the stepped up activities of militant outfits, sources said.
Every voter, particularly at certain polling stations, including Wangkhei Boys Junior High School in the heart of Imphal town, is being checked with metal detectors, sources said.
Approximately 23,499 voters, including 12,703 women, would exercise their franchise to elect their representatives from the constituency where four candidates, E Suraj (Congress), H Jayadev (independent), S Rajen (Janata Dal Secular) and A Jagadish (independent), are in the fray.
By-elections were necessitated after the untimely demise of Congress MLA E Kunjeshore, father of E Suraj, about four months ago. Counting of votes will take place on December 23.