Tamil Nadu's Vikravandi bypolls: Campaigning draws to a close

Dry days have been declared in Villupuram district on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday -- the day of vote counting.
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Image used for representation purposes(Express Illustrations)

VILLUPURAM: The campaigning for the Vikravandi bypolls concluded on Monday evening, with the polling scheduled for July 10 (Wednesday), followed by the counting of votes on July 13. A total of 29 candidates are contesting the by-election, which was announced on April 6 following the death of then MLA N Pugazhenthi.

A total of 64 nominations from 56 candidates, including Anniyur Siva alias A Sivashanmugam of DMK, C Anbumani of PMK, and Dr Abinaya Ponnivalavan of NTK, were submitted. After scrutiny, 35 nominations were rejected, leaving 29 candidates, including 18 independents, in the final list. The campaigns commenced on June 10 with participation from major parties such as DMK, PMK, NTK, and their alliances; the AIADMK and DMDK boycotted the bypoll.

Returning Officer for the Vikravandi bypoll M Chandrasekhar on Sunday said outsiders must vacate the constituency once the campaigning ends on Monday evening. Collector-cum-Election Officer C Palani said the constituency has 2,37,031 eligible voters -- 1,16,962 men, 1,20,040 women and 29 third-genders.

According to reports, the voting would take place in 331 polling booths at 276 polling centres. A total of 1,355 staff members and 53 micro-observers have been appointed for election duty, with 45 booths identified as vulnerable, added sources. A total of 662 ballot units, 331 control units, and 357 VVPATs have been allocated to booths through the randomisation process.

The police said, out of the 42 vulnerable booths, three are the most critical. As many as 2,651 personnel, including 220 paramilitary staff, have been deployed, said the police.

A holiday has been declared for government and non-government offices, private organisations, industries, banks, and educational institutions in Vikravandi on the day of the polling. Leave of absence has been mandated for voters working or studying in other districts under Section 25 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881.

Dry days have been declared in Villupuram district on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday -- the day of vote counting. TASMAC shops and bars will remain closed on these days.

The Government of Puducherry's office of the deputy commissioner (excise) also declared dry days in the Mannadipet Commune, near Vikravandi, with all liquor, arrack, toddy shops and bars closed.

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