The battle of supremacy is on cards with Tamil Nadu and Kerala going to polls on Monday. The electorates will decide the fate of incumbents Jayalalithaa and Oommen Chandy in the states, which have voted out the ruling parties every elections in the recent past. They both are up against the arch rivals and nonagenarians M Karunanidhi and V S Achutanandan in their respective states which will witness multi-cornered contests.
The 30-member legislative assembly of Puducherry also goes to the polls on Monday.
Besides AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa and 91-year-old wheelchair-bound Karunanidhi, the poll arena in Tamil Nadu also has two other chief ministerial candidates–actor-turned politician Vijayakant of DMDK-PWF-TMC combine and PMK’s Anbumani Ramadoss.
A total of 3,740 aspirants are in the fray for the 234 assembly seats in Tamil Nadu.
Of the total 234 constituencies, polling will be held in 233 seats as the Election Commission had deferred the process in Aravakurichi segment in Karur district to May 23 due to “unlawful” activities of candidates and political parties in “bribing” voters. Counting of votes in Aravakurichi will be taken up on May 25.
Election authorities have seized more than Rs 100 crore unaccounted cash in the state, the largest among the five states involved in the Assembly polls.
More than a lakh police and paramilitary personnel would man over 65,000 polling booths across the state, which is witnessing a multi-cornered contest also featuring BJP, seeking to make a mark along with a few minor allies.
Jayalalithaa, seeking a second successive term in office, and Karunanidhi, eyeing to lead DMK to power after back-to-back drubbings in the 2011 assembly and 2014 Lok Sabha elections, are contesting from R K Nagar in Chennai and Thiruvarur respectively.
Positioning itself as a viable third front, the combine of DMDK, People’s Welfare Front comprising Vaiko’s MDMK, CPI-M, CPI and VCK and Tamil Maanila Congress led by G K Vasan has also attacked both DMK and AIADMK, which have ruled the state alternately in recent decades, and pushed for a change.
Tamil Nadu is known to generally elect one clear winner from the two Dravidian giants, DMK and AIADMK, since 1967.
In Kerala, the ruling UDF and LDF, which had gone hammer and tongs at each other during the electioneering, are keeping their fingers crossed even as BJP is hoping to get a toe-hold.
A total of 1,203 candidates, including 109 women, are contesting for the 140 assembly seats.
Counting of votes in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry will be taken up along with West Bengal and Assam. The outcome of these state elections is also been termed as ‘mini’ general elections in certain quarters, although the two dominant national parties – Congress and BJP – are in direct contest only in Assam.
(With inputs from the PTI)