The Election Commission has said polling in the Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry Assembly elections and voting in phase three of the Assam and West Bengal elections on Tuesday went off peacefully and under COVID-19 protocols, with the turnout ranging from 71% to 79% as of 7 p.m.
Polling was conducted at 1,53,538 polling stations across 475 Assembly constituencies in the four States and the Union Territory of Puducherry, the EC said.
Tamil Nadu recorded 71.79% turnout, the lowest among the four States. Kerala witnessed 77.02% turnout, while Puducherry saw 81.88% of the electors cast their ballots. In phase three of polling in Assam and West Bengal, turnout was 82.28% and 77.68% respectively. However officials said the figures could be revised.
The EC said the electronic voting machines (EVMs) and voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPATs) had gone through first-level checking, randomisation and commissioning in the presence of agents of candidates and parties. The EC said it had made “record seizure” of ₹947.98 crore in connection with Tuesday’s polling.
“The seizure figure, which includes seizure of cash, liquor, narcotics, freebies etc., is more than 4.198 times higher than the total combined seizure of ₹₹225.77 crore in GE LA 2016 [General elections to legislative assemblies],” it said
“Today, before the start of the poll, each of the EVMs and VVPATs again underwent a mock poll in the presence of polling agents of the candidates, with minimum 50 votes cast on each, as per standard procedure. At the end of the mock poll, the result of EVM were matched with the result of VVPAT slips and shown to the polling agents. Non-functioning rate during the mock poll is lower than comparable/experienced in the last few polls,” the EC said.
Tamil Nadu and the neighbouring Union Territory of Puducherry saw a largely peaceful voting barring a few minor scuffles. With almost 4,000 candidates in the fray for 234 constituencies in a five-cornered contest,Tamil Nadu recorded an estimated turnout of 71.79% at the end of polling.
Puducherry where the battle is between the UPA and NDA saw an estimated 81.88% turnout.
Tamil Nadu Chief Electoral Officer, Satyabrata Sahoo told journalists that there were no major law and order issues throughout the day. The State has an electorate of 6,28,69,955.
Chennai yet again recorded a low turnout of just 59.40%. Kallakurichi district registered the highest turnout at 78% followed by Namakkal at 77.91%, Ariyalur district at 77.88%, Dharmapuri district at 77.23% and Perambalur at 77.08%.
In Puducherry, which has 30 constituencies, the process was by and large peaceful barring the odd complaints about temporary EVM snags in a few polling stations and minor protests over canvassing of votes near booths.
Officials in Assam who reported 82.28% voting till 7 p.m., said the third and final phase is likely to see higher turnout. Voting has traditionally been high across Muslim-dominated and tribal areas which went for polls in this phase. The first two phases of polling in 47 and 39 constituencies had recorded 79.97% and 80.96% voting respectively.
West Bengal recorded 77.68 % polling till 5 p.m. across 31 constituencies that went to polls in the third phase.
Chief Electoral Officer, West Bengal Aariz Aftab said polling was largely peaceful with incidents of violence reported only in certain pockets. Four candidates, including two women candidates — one each from the Trinamool Congress and BJP — were assaulted.