EC beefs up security, deploys micro observers at booths as TN goes to polls

Thirty-eight Lok Sabha constituencies in Tamil Nadu will go to polls, except for Vellore constituency - election to which was recently cancelled.

A total of 97 constituencies across 12 states including Tamil Nadu and the union territory of Puducherry will go to polls in the second phase of elections on April 18.

The Election Commission (EC) has set up 1,81,000 polling booths to ensure smooth conduct of voting. More than 15,97,34,000 voters will cast their vote in the election that will see 1,629 candidates contesting.

Thirty-eight Lok Sabha constituencies in Tamil Nadu will go to polls, except for Vellore constituency – election to which was recently cancelled by EC. The state will also see by-elections in 18 Assembly seats. Tamil Nadu chief electoral officer Satyabrata Sahoo on Wednesday (April 17) said that around 8,200 booths have been identified as sensitive and vulnerable out of the 67,700.

“Web streaming has been arranged; micro observers, CRPF and others have been assigned to keep a watch on any violations,” said Sahoo. A toll free number — 1950 — has been allocated by the EC to raise complaints related to violation of the EC norms.

As per the EC’s release on April 16 Gujarat tops the list in terms of seizures of drugs, cash and other valuables worth ₹543.38 crore. Tamil Nadu is second with ₹510.76. In particular to cash seizures, Tamil Nadu tops with ₹204.77 crore. A total of ₹62 crore has been returned, as per the data available with the Tamil Nadu electoral office.

Raids and cash seizures continued in various districts in the state on April 17 following the late night I-T raids at Thoothukudi’s DMK candidate Kanimozhi’s residence on April 16.

Live webcasting arrangements have been done for 30, 000 booths on the polling day. A total of 160 companies of paramilitary forces and 1.4 lakh personnel including forces from police and prison departments will be deployed across the state.

“As many as 3.5 lakh polling officials will be on duty and polling details will be updated every two hours,” said Sahoo.

While the polling time is between 7 am and 6 pm, in Madurai polling will wrap up at 8 pm due to Chitirai festival.

The chief electoral officer also added that more than 4,400 First Information Report (FIR) have been filed based on complaints or reports submitted by the district electoral officers across the state.