Experts say last-minute quota for Vanniyars hardly impacted voter turnout

Above 70% voting in Vanniyar-dominated areas is normal and was the trend in the last assembly polls as well, said political analyst Tharasu Shyam

Election
The increase in voting between 1 pm and 3pm in the Western and Central regions is because candidates canvassed hard to convince people to vote, say experts. | Photo: Twitter/ANI

The voting for 234 assembly seats of Tamil Nadu went off peacefully on April 6 (Tuesday) with the state registering a 71.79% turnout in a keenly fought contest between the AIADMK-BJP alliance on one hand and the DMK-Congress combine on the other hand. The 2016 elections saw 74.81 per cent turnout and in 2011 it was 78.01 per cent.

Here’s a lowdown on the region-wise voting pattern in the state.

The Western region consisting of the Kongu belt districts and the Central region consisting of Cauvery delta districts have a majority of the Thevar community. These regions saw a surge in voting between 1pm and 3pm on Tuesday.

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An analysis of the turnout every two hours released by the Election Commission shows that the Central region’s voting surged by 15.26% between 1 pm and 3pm, the maximum among all regions for the given time slot. Following the Central region is the western region which also saw a voting increase of 15.08% between 1 pm and 3pm.

The Northern region, dominated by the Vanniyar community, also registered the maximum increase in polling between 1pm and 3pm when the turnout increased by 13.91%. However, the Southern region registered maximum polling between 11am and 1pm when the turnout increased by 13.39%.

The Cauvery delta districts of Ariyalur, Perambalur and Karur saw more than 77% turnout at the end.

In the Northern region, the composite Chennai districts consisting of Chennai, Tiruvallur, Chengalpet and Kancheepuram districts together pulled down the total voting percentage despite the presence of Kallakurichi, which polled the maximum 78% votes. In the region, Chennai turnout was the lowest (60%) followed by Chengalpet with 62.77%.

Other Vanniyar-dominated districts in the northern region have seen more than 70% polling. The turnout was expected to be higher due to the last-minute announcement of 10.5% internal reservation for the Vanniyars within the MBC quota, but that did not fructify. Other Vanniyar-dominated districts of Salem, Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri in the western region also registered comparatively low voter turnout.

In the Western region, Coimbatore district, with at least two important contests in Thondamuthur and Coimbatore South, recorded the lowest voter turnout of 66.98%, followed by labour-dominated Tirupur with 67.48%.

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“Seventy per cent and above voting in Vanniyar-dominated areas is normal and was the trend in the last assembly elections as well. Basically these areas are situated in semi-rural or rural areas and people here vote as a community. A turnout of 70% and above is not due to last-minute internal reservations,” said political analyst Tharasu Shyam.

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The increase in voting between 1 pm and 3pm in the Western and Central regions is because candidates canvassed hard to convince people to vote, said Shyam. “In constituencies like Thondamuthur, where minister S P Velumani and Karthikeya Sivasenapathy are face to face, the voting percentage was definitely going to be high because both the candidates must have taken efforts to see the voters reach the booth and vote,” he added.

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