Madurai: Polling in Madurai Lok Sabha constituency will be conducted for an extra two hours on April 18 on account of the Madurai’s annual Chithirai festival.

The announcement was made on Monday by Tamil Nadu’s Chief Electoral Officer Satyabrata Sahoo.

This means that while voters in all other constituencies in Tamil Nadu will vote from 7 am to 6 pm on April 18, Madurai voters will be allowed to vote till 8 pm.

The announcement comes days after the Election Commission of India ruled out the possibility of postponing the date of polling in Madurai due to Chithirai festival.

In response to a petition filed by a Madurai resident, the Election Commission of India stated that postponing election in one constituency will pose practical difficulties.

The EC instead offered to extend the voting time by two hours in all polling booths across the constituency.

Madurai’s Chithirai festival is an annual event, celebrated in the Tamil month of Chithirai, which is April.

The festival is celebrated over two weeks and usually takes place in and around the Meenakshi Amman temple in Madurai. Large number of devotees gather at the temple to participate in the festival.

This year, the Meenakshi pattabhishekam will be held on April 15, the wedding on April 17, the temple chariot festival on April 18 and the event where Kallazhagar enters Vaigai river, on April 19.

The issue surrounding the election date began hours after the Chief Election Commissioner announced the dates of Lok Sabha polls on March 10.

As people started posting the coincidence of dates on social media, the Madurai bench of Madras high court also questioned the keenness of the Election Commission of India to ensure 100% voter turnout while it was hearing the petition.