Poll Day: brisk voting in some places, sluggish in others

It started briskly in the morning and faded much before the close. That is how polling in General Elections 2014 may well be described in the Arcot Road neighbourhood. And this picture fell in place when the Election Commission said later that polling in Chennai South was about 59%, the lowest in Tamil Nadu.

Most parts of this neighbourhood fall under Chennai South, while Valasarawakkam falls under Sriperumbudur.

When the polling booths opened at 7 a.m. on April 24, there were many people at the booths in K K Nagar and in Virugambakkam.

These were people who had decided to get in early, perhaps after the morning walk or having a cup of coffee, to get away from the rising summer heat.

Polling got going briskly by 8 a.m.

If there was a buzzing community atmosphere then it was seen at many a place where large local school campuses hosted a few polling booths.

As families came to these campuses, they met up with friends, had a chat and then went their way. Some hung around to sip a cool drink and take in the polling buzz.


Streams of people were seen at the gates of PSBB School. They came from all sides and found the access to the campus easy.

This time around, barricades or drop gates were erected on streets/lanes leading to the booths to prevent bikes and cars from going up to the gates.

Police patrolling was intense too.

Similar were the scenes at the MGR Janaki School ( the gates on the 80Ft Road were kept open for easy access), at the AVM Avichi School on Arcot Road, Saligramam ( where the main gate was locked and access was allowed only through the small gate) and at La Mech School in Valasarawakkam where, strict policing kept the party cadres at a distant corner.


In many places, partymen and women set up counters to help people scan the rolls and guide them; on P T Rajan Road and inside Natesan Nagar, in MGR Nagar and on AVM Avenue there was a bustle through the morning but when the groups expanded, police coaxed them to thin out.

The afternoon heat sapped these men and women volunteers and many moved out to the shade of avenue trees or nearby shops.


In some places, people walked to the poll booths even at 1 p.m. It was a sight to see low tables used as barricades outside Good Shepherd School in Valasarawakkam.


Most stores, especially the large ones were closed and even Arcot Road was deserted by noontime though Kaliamman Koil Street remained busy as ever.

In many booths, the polling declined after 4 p.m. and though the booths were kept open till 6 p.m. only the odd person stepped in to vote.


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