Chennai | Polling to 232 Assembly seats in Tamil Nadu that will decide the fate of over 3700 candidates, including chief minister J Jayalalithaa and DMK chief M Karunanidhi, commenced today at 7 AM. Electronic Voting Machines across 65,000-odd polling booths were opened for around 5.50 crore voters to cast their votes.
Over one lakh security personnel have been deployed to ensure peaceful elections. Though Tamil Nadu has 234 assembly seats across 32 districts, polling is being held only for 232 as the Election Commission has postponed it for May 23 in Aravakurichi and Thanjavur segments following complaints of voters being bribed.
Besides Jayalalithaa (RK Nagar) and Karunanidhi (Thiruvarur), a host of leaders including DMDK founder Vijayakant and PMK’s Anbumani Ramadoss, both Chief Ministerial candidates, MK Stalin (DMK), H Raja and Tamilisai Sounderrajan of the BJP are in fray. A total of 1,11,958 police personnel, including 21,780 para military personnel, would be involved in the election duty.
Voters turned up in good numbers early in the morning to cast their votes and queues were seen in many booths. Among others, DMK chief M Karunananidhi, BJP state president Tamilisai Soundararajan and actor Rajinikanth cast their votes in the morning itself.
The Election Commission had made elaborate security arrangements for peaceful polling. Special arrangements to help the differently abled persons to vote without any difficulty were also in place. These included wheel-chairs for such persons with volunteers to take them inside and outside the polling booths.
Tamil Nadu witnessed brisk polling in 232 Assembly constituencies today with over 18 per cent voters exercising their franchise by 9 AM. According to a senior electoral official, 18.3 per cent voters had cast their votes. Election Commission had deferred polling in Aravakurichi and Thanjavur following allegations of bribing of voters.
Following the Election Commission’s decision, polling is being held in 232 of the 234 Assembly constituencies. Polling in Aravakurichi and Thanjavur will be held on May 23 and counting of votes on May 25. For the rest of the 232 segments, counting will be as per schedule on May 19.