The deserted polling station at Pottalurani in Thoothukudi.
The deserted polling station at Pottalurani in Thoothukudi.(Photo | V Karthikalagu, EPS)

TN voters boycott polls in 15 places

Reasons range from land acquisition to lack of amenities; Ekanapuram villagers skip polls over Parandur airport plan

Even as the state struggled to record a better voter turnout in the Lok Sabha election compared to the previous one in 2019, people in around 15 places across the state boycotted the democratic process as a mark of protest over the authorities not finding a solution to their long-pending demands.

In a few places, voting resumed after officials held talks with the people.

Around 60 Dalit voters in Vengaivayal and more than 500 people in adjacent Eraiyur in Pudukkottai district boycotted the polls in protest over the state government’s failure to identify those who mixed human faeces in the overhead tank that supplied water to the Dalits. While the 60 Dalits voted later in the day after the officials assured speedy justice, the people of Eraiyur did not exercise their franchise.

The people in Ekanapuram in Kancheepuram district, the epicentre of the ongoing protests against the proposed greenfield airport at Parandur, also boycotted the polls.

In Mothakkal village in Tiruvannamalai district, around 500 Dalits boycotted the polls as their long-pending demand for basic amenities have not been fulfilled.

In Avalur in Ranipet district, over 1,200 voters boycotted the polls as the government allegedly has not made efforts to construct an overbridge on the Chennai-Bangalore national highway that will reduce road accidents. Only 10 persons of the total of 1,279 voters cast their votes.

People of Tholluvabetta and Gullatti villages in Bettamugilalam panchayat in Krishnagiri district did not vote, stating their demand for road in the forest area is yet to be met.

Around 650 voters in Vedampattu in Villupuram also refused to vote, alleging the district administration’s failure to close down the medical waste processing unit in the village. Similarly in Sitheri village under Vikravandi taluk of the district, at least 500 Schedule Castes and Dalit Christians refused to vote after their polling station was not set up in their panchayat, due to alleged resistance by around 300 caste Hindus to come and vote in the locality.

Around 300 people in Inathukkanpatti in Thanjavur district, abutting the Indian Air Force station, boycotted the elections pointing out that after the land around their village was acquired for the extension of the station, their basic amenities were not fulfilled.

People in places like Kattupalli Kuppam in Tiruvallur, Seeragampatti and Ayakudi in Dindigul, and Jyothihalli in Dharmapuri also boycotted the polls, but later took part in the process after discussions.

In Karudaiyampalayam in Karur also, around 100 people boycotted the polls stating a crematorium has not been set up in their village despite filing multiple petitions. People of Nellaithiruthu in Tirunelveli parliamentary constituency also stayed away from voting, alleging inaction to address drinking water shortage in the locality.

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The New Indian Express