Voting is underway in Tamil Nadu and Kerala today to decide the fate of Chief Ministers Jayalalithaa and Oommen Chandy and their arch rivals M Karunanidhi and V S Achutanandan. In Union Territory Pudducherry too voters are lined in large queues to elect their next government.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged the voters to vote in record numbers on the crucial polling day.
“Urging all voters in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry to vote in record numbers today & be a part of this festival of democracy,” The Prime Minister tweeted.
Of the total 234 constituencies in Tamil Nadu, polling will be held in 232 seats as Election Commission had deferred polling in Aravakurichi and Thanjavur following allegations of bribing of voters. These two seats will vote on May 23.
As per early reports, over 63.70 per cent voters exercising their franchise till 3 PM in 232 Assembly constituencies.
Super Star Rajani kant, DMK Supremo Karunandhi and his son Stallin were the first celebrities to vote in Chennai’s 1000 lights divisions Stella Maris polling booth where Chief Minister Jaya Lalitha also exercised her franchise.
“Everyone should vote, that is a duty,” said Rajinikanth
Besides AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa and 91-year-old wheelchair-bound Karunanidhi, the poll arena in Tamil Nadu has two other chief ministerial candidates–actor-turned politician Vijayakant of DMDK-PWF-TMC combine and PMK’s Anbumani Ramadoss.
The BJP is seeking to make inroads in Tamil Nadu and Kerala where the power has oscillated between the AIADMK and the DMK and the Congress-led United Democratic Front(UDF) and the CPI-M led Left Democratic Front(LDF) respectively for decades.
Kerala too is witnessing a good turnout as rain gods blessed the state with light drizzles in the early morning. Over 50 percent voting was registered till 3 PM Monday afternoon.
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.
In Puducherry, over 9 lakh voter’s exercise their franchise today with the protection of over 6,000 police personnel including the central paramilitary forces. The state has registered 70%. voting till 3 PM.