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Posted at: Apr 18, 2019, 9:42 AM; last updated: Apr 18, 2019, 3:06 PM (IST)

Tamil Nadu leaders make a beeline to vote; 39.49 pc turnout so far

Tamil Nadu leaders make a beeline to vote; 39.49 pc turnout so far
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami was among the early electors in his native Salem district. PTI file

Chennai, April 18

Tamil Nadu recorded 39.49 per cent voting till 1 pm in 38 Lok Sabha constituencies of the state, with Chief Minister K Palaniswami and DMK chief M K Stalin among the early voters.

Chief Electoral Officer Satyabrata Sahoo said the state recorded 39.49 per cent voting till 1 pm, with Namakkal registering the highest of 41.56 and Kanyakumari the minimum of 37.2 per cent.

In the bypolls in 18 Assembly segments, the polling percentage was 42.92.

Sahoo said the polling exercise has been going on peacefully all over the state.

As many as 384 EVMs and 692 VVPATs were changed spread over 66,167 polling stations across Tamil Nadu over technical issues, he said.

Sahoo said that even if voters did not have the voter’s slip, they could still vote since it was not one of the 12 documents mandated for voting.

The slips were only meant to identify the elector’s polling station and their serial number on poll rolls, he said.

Meanwhile, chaotic scenes unfolded at the Koyambedu bus terminus here when a considerable number of commuters arrived to travel to their native districts on account of “continuous holidays” till Sunday (Friday is a holiday for Good Friday).

Operation of “inadequate buses” was the reason for the chaotic situation, they claimed.

Chief Minister K Palaniswami and DMK chief M K Stalin waited in queues at Edappadi in Salem district and Chennai, respectively, and cast their vote.

After casting his vote, Stalin alleged that there has been distribution of cash and accused the Election Commission of being an “ally” of central and state governments.

Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan, DMK’s Dayanidhi Maran and Kanimozhi and Karti Chidambaram of Congress are among key contenders.

Radhakrishnan told reporters in Kanyakumari: “This is a massive democratic festival which will decide the fate of India. I have exercised my franchise...A silent revolution is happening.”

AIADMK leader and state minister D Jayakumar said 13 per cent voting in the morning “is a joyous thing.”     

“This shows there is a wave for Amma and MGR,” he said, exuding confidence that the AIADMK-BJP combine would emerge victorious.

Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam leader T T V Dhinakaran alleged “malfunctioning of EVMs is an achievement of the Modi government.”

CPI national secretary D Raja expressed confidence that people were voting for the DMK-led alliance in Tamil Nadu as they wanted to see the end of the BJP government at the Centre.

Dayanidhi Maran voted here along with his family members.

Besides 38 of the total 39 Lok Sabha seats in the state, excluding Vellore, bypolls to 18 Assembly segments are also under way.

Polling stations were teeming with enthusiastic voters even before 7 am when polling began and the Chief Minister was among the early electors in his native Salem district.

While senior Congress leader P Chidambaram voted at Kandanur in Sivaganga district, Dhinakaran execised his franchise along with his family here.

Top actor Rajinikanth and popular stars Vijay and Ajith Kumar voted in Chennai.

BJP’s Tamil Nadu unit chief Tamilisai Soundararjan and actor and Makkal Needhi Maiam president Kamal Haasan also cast their votes here.

DMDK chief Vijayakanth, his wife and party leader Premalatha and Pattali Makkal Katchi chief S Ramadoss voted in Chennai and Tindivanam, respectively.

The state’s electorate is 5.84-crore (after deducting the 14.26 lakh voters in Vellore) strong.

Adequate security arrangements, with the deployment of over 160 companies of central police forces and one lakh state police personnel, have been made.

In the run-up to the polls, election authorities had seized over Rs 129 crore cash, gold and other precious metals with a total value of over Rs 284 crore from all over the state.

Tamil Nadu has a total of 67,720 polling stations and 7,780 booths have been categorised as critical and vulnerable where more Central Armed Police Forces personnel, and micro-observers were deployed.

Measures like webcasting and videographing of proceedings are also in place.

As many as 1,50,302 ballot units, 89,160 control units and 94,653 VVPAT which allows the electors to cross check the votes they have cast for seven seconds are available.

Every constituency has one all-woman polling station.

While polling is being held between 7 AM and 6 PM in 37 constituencies, it has been extended by two hours until 8 PM in Madurai Lok Sabha segment, due to the Chithirai festival, which marks the grand entry of Lord Kallazhagar into the Vaigai river. PTI


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