Tamil Nadu recorded a voter turnout of 47.18% till 3 pm on Saturday in the urban local body polls, The New Indian Express reported. State capital Chennai recorded the lowest turnout of 31.89%, while 65.68% of the voters exercised their franchise in Dharmapuri district.

The civic elections are being held in the state after a gap of over 10 years. The voting started at 7 am and will end at 6 pm. However, between 5 pm and 6 pm, only those showing coronavirus symptoms and those who have been infected with the disease will be allowed to vote.

Twenty-one cities, 138 municipalities and 490 town panchayats will elect more than 12,000 members in the elections that are being held in a single phase. As many as 57,778 candidates are in the fray.

Over 2.79 crore residents, including 1.42 crore women, 1.37 crore men and over 4,300 from the third gender, are eligible to vote in the urban local polls, according to The Hindu.

The parties in the fray in the elections are Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the Bharatiya Janata Party and Kamal Hassan’s Makkal Needhi Maiam.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin expressed confidence that the ruling DMK would win all 21 municipal corporations. “People are casting their vote with all eagerness across the state since the DMK government has made many achievements during the past nine months,” he told reporters after casting his vote in Teynampet. “So, the people are more enthusiastic in voting for the DMK candidates in the local body elections than in the Assembly elections.”

After the tenure of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam ended in 2016, both polling for the rural and urban local bodies in the state elections were stalled due to several legal problems, according to The Indian Express.

Multiple parties had filed cases alleging law and order issues, inadequate reservation for Scheduled Tribes amongst others. The election to the rural local body was held in 2019.

In January, the Madras High Court gave its approval to hold elections to urban local bodies in the state and had said it will monitor the conduct of the polls in the state, according to PTI.

On Friday, the Tamil Nadu Police had said it would deploy nearly 1 lakh police personnel to ensure peaceful and fair elections, adding that it had identified vulnerable polling stations and had made security arrangements accordingly, according to PTI.

During campaigning for the polls, DMK leader and state Chief Minister MK Stalin had announced that his party would give Rs 1,000 monthly to women. The party had also raised issues of federalism and state autonomy during the campaign, NDTV reported.

AIADMK’s joint Coordinator Edappadi K Palaniswami, however, had targeted Stalin saying the chief minister’s promises were up to no good for the people.

“DMK’S Stalin has become chief minister making attractive promises,” Palaniswami had said. “Such a chief minister wouldn’t do any good to the people.”