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First phase of local body polls ends in Tamil Nadu

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Press Trust of India Chennai
: The first phase of polls to elect councillors, panchayat union presidents and ward members for the local bodies concluded in Tamil Nadu on Friday with reports of stray incidents taking place in a few polling booths.
The dates for the much-awaited polls were announced by the State Election Commission early this month.
The polls are being held excluding the nine districts where the delimitation exercise has to be completed.
The newly formed nine districts are Kancheepuram, Chengalput, Vellore, Tirupattur, Ranipet, Villupuram, Kallakurichi, Tirunelveli and Tenkasi.
The second phase would be held on December 30.
According to sources, there are nearly 1.30 crore voters to cast their vote in first phase while another 1.28 crore in the second phase.
The polling which began at 7 am ended at 5 pm.
The counting of votes would take place on January 2.
According to the Tamil Nadu State Election Commission, the total number of polling booths set up was 49,688 of which 24,680 were covered in phase-I.
The total number of candidates contesting the polls was 2,31,890, the SEC said in a press release.
The number of employees working at polling booths is 4.02 lakh while the number of officials engaged in taking up poll related work is 702.
A total of 8,633 polling booths was identified to be sensitive while 2,939 micro observers have been appointed, the SEC said.
Flying squads, numbering 495, were constituted and 60,918 police and ex-servicemen were deployed for providing security.
Some incidents were reported in a booth in Tiruvallur district in which some miscreants allegedly took away the voting machines, police said.
"A few people have been detained in this connection. Investigation is going on ",an officer told PTI.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami cast his vote along with his family in a booth in Siluvampalayam in Edapadi Block in his home district of Salem.
In Erode, the polls ended peacefully with no major incident reported.
Tight security cover was provided in all the 657 polling stations, sources said.
Meanwhile, a public interest litigation was filed in the Madras High Court seeking a direction to the State Election Commission not to declare results of the rural body elections till urban civic polls were conducted.
Satta Panchayat Iyakkam general secretary Senthil Arumugam filed the PIL which is expected to come up for hearing before the vacation bench on Saturday.
The petitioner submitted that local body elections were held simultaneously in rural and urban areas in 1996, 2001, 2006 and 2011, but this time it was being conducted for rural local bodies alone from December 27 to December 30 in 27 districts.

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First Published: Dec 27 2019 | 9:55 PM IST

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