Polling for TN, Pondy Assembly begins

Chennai/Puducherry, April 6 (IANS) Polling in the 234 Assembly constituencies in Tamil Nadu and the 30 Assembly seats in the neighbouring Puducherry began at 7 a.m. on Tuesday.

Similarly, voting began for the lone Kanniyakumari Lok Sabha seat where bypoll is being held simultaneously.

In Tamil Nadu a total of 3,998 candidates are in the fray seeking the 6.26 crore ‘one day Sultan’s or the voter’s favour.

With 77 contenstants, the Karur Assembly seat sees the highest number of Assembly aspirants.

About 1.58 lakh security personnel have been deployed for security.

There will be a six cornered contest for occupying Fort St.George though the main contest will be between the ruling AIADMK-led alliance and the DMK-led front.

The others in the fray are actor-turned-politicians Kamal Haasan’s Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) alliance, Vijayakant promoted DMDK, the alliance led by Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) floated by T.T.V.Dhinakaran and movie director Seeman’s Naam Tamilar Katchi (NTK).

This election is a waveless poll with AIADMK-led by Chief Minister K.Palaniswami seeking a third term for the party while the DMK-led by its President M.K.Stalin will be seeking to break the decade long power drought.

In order to have a good voter turnout and also enable Covid-19 patients to vote the poll body has allowed them to perform their democratic right by wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) kits.

Voters have to compulsorily wear mask, thermal scanning will be done at the polling booths.

Arrangements for live webcast of the polling process in sensitive booths have been made.

The ruling AIADMK is fighting the poll in 179 seats and six other small parties each contesting in one seat under the former’s Two Leaves symbol.

The others in the AIADMK alliance are the BJP (contesting in 20 seats) and PMK (23), TMC (6).

On the other hand, the DMK will be fighting in 173 seats while alliance parties Congress (25), CPI, CPI-M, MDMK and VCK in six seats each, IUML, KMDK (3 each), MMK (2), All India Forward Bloc, Makkal Viduthalai Katchi, Athi Thamizhar Peravai and Tamizhaga Vazhuvurimai Katchi each contesting in one seat.

A total of 187 candidates — DMK’s own and that of alliance parties — will be contesting under the former’s Rising Sun symbol.

The MNM is allied with actor Sarathkumar’s AISMK and IJK while Dhinakaran’s AMMK has allied with the DMDK, AIMIM and others.

The Seeman-led NTK is going it alone contesting in all the 234 constituencies.

The other parties in the fray on their own are the Bahujan Samaj Party (contesting in 160 seats), Puthiya Tamizhagam (60 seats) and Republican Party of India (16 seats).

Notable candidates in the polls and the constituencies are: Palaniswami, Deputy Chief Minister O.Panneerselvam (Bodinayakkanur), Stalin (Kolathur), his son Udhayanidhi Stalin (Chepauk-Tiruvallikeni), DMDK Treasurer and Vijayakant’s wife Premalatha (Vridhachalam) MNM founder Kamal Haasan (Coimbatore South), TN BJP President L. Murugan (Dharapuram), actor Khushbu Sundar (Thousand Lights), TN BJP Vice President K.Annamalai, PMK’s G.K.Mani (Pennagaram) and Seeman (Tiruvottriyur).

In the bypoll for the Kanniyakumari Lok Sabha seat, the fight is between former Union Minister and BJP’s Pon Radhakrishnan and Congress party’s Vijay Vasanth thought there as a dozen candidates.

The bypoll was necessitated owing to the death of Congress MP H. Vasanthakumar, the father of the current Congress candidate.

In the neighbouring Puducherry, Union Territory having just over 10 lakh voters the fight for the 30-member Assembly is majorly between the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) consisting of Congress (contesting in 14 seats), DMK (13), CPI, VCK (one seat each) and an Independent.

The rival National Democratic Alliance (NDA) comprises of All India N.R. Congress (16 seats), BJP (9) and AIADMK (5).

Polling in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry will end at 7 p.m.

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