Polling in 234 Assembly seats in Tamil Nadu is underway since 7 a.m. on Tuesday.
The Election Commission has said that it will be conducting the polls with due COVID-19 health protocols such as checking the temperature of voters.
In Tamil Nadu, which faces a five-cornered battle, the AIADMK-led alliance with Edappadi K. Palaniswami as its Chief Ministerial face is seeking a renewed mandate. DMK president M.K. Stalin, heading a rainbow alliance, is making a strong pitch to form a government with him as Chief Minister for the first time. There is also T.T.V. Dhinakaran-led AMMK in alliance with DMDK and AIMIM. Tamil nationalist party Naam Tamilar Katchi and new entrant Makkal Needhi Maiam are also in the fray.
Here are the latest updates:
A map and navigators to guide voters in Sivakasi
To find one’s booth among 30 booths on one school premises is indeed a difficult task. However, three college students made it easier for voters in Sivakasi. NSS volunteers, M. Kaleeswaran, M. Kalimuthu and M. Marikannu, guided the voters to their booths with the help of a map with locations of different booths, at the Coronation Girl’s Higher Secondary School here.
The huge map on a flex board had all the booths inside the school marked. Upon getting the voter’s slip, the volunteers identified the booth concerned for each of the voters and showed them the way.
“With so many voters coming to this polling location, it is very difficult for them to find their booth,” said Inspector of Police, Sivakasi East police station, Muthukumar.
MNM seeks disqualification of candidate whose supporters distributed tokens
Makkal Needhi Maiam on Tuesday lodged a complaint with the returning officer, Coimbatore South Assembly constituency, seeking disqualification of candidate whose cadre were caught distributing tokens.
The party candidate Kamal Haasan’s chief election agent M. Udhayakumar claimed that through the media he had learnt that supporters of BJP candidate Vanathi Srinivasan were caught with those tokens.
In response to Mr. Haasan’s allegations, BJP Mahila Morcha present Ms. Srinivasan tweeted: “Congress, Maiam and others making drama as if we are distributing tokens, sensing their defeat.
It is being stage managed to defame my volunteers and party cadres and to attribute reasons for my victory.
No truth in the allegation. I strongly deny and condemn the false complaints.”
Actor Vijay rode a bicycle to the polling booth, sparking speculations if it had something to do with the fuel prices, but his publicist later clarified that the star did so considering car parking problems in the small street where the polling booth was located.
As of 2 p.m, Tiruppur district sees average polling of 38.15%. Constituency-wise break-up:
Avinashi – 41.7%, Dharapuram – 33.7%, Kangeyam – 32.29%, Madathukulam – 35.3%, Palladam – 41%, Tiruppur North – 36.2%, Tiruppur South – 44% and Udumalpet – 39.6%
Thondamuthur DMK candidate’s car damaged
Thondamuthur DMK candidate Karthikeya Sivasenapathy’s car was damaged near Gandhipark in Coimbatore when he attempted to visit Booth 181.
Sources close to Mr. Sivasenapathy alleged that AIADMK cadre blocked his car to prevent him from visiting booths though he travelled only in a permitted vehicle.
This led to scuffle between AIADMK and DMK cadre in Selvapuram, which the security personnel tried to defuse by escorting Mr. Sivasenapathy and moving the cadre.
The sources said Mr. Sivasenapathy had complained to Collector S. Nagarajan that the AIADMK candidate and Minister S.P. Velumani’s supporters had attempted to launch a murderous assault on him but he was whisked away safely by his supporters.
Besides verbally abusing him, the AIADMK cadre also tried to prevent him from moving around the constituency, he alleged and sought stringent action.
Video | The Hindu’s Mohamed Imranullah S. discusses the Tamil Nadu Assembly election and how this time around the election brings up a lot of firsts.
Voters will ensure my victory with a margin of 50,000 votes in Kovilpatti: Dhinakaran
Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) general secretary T.T.V. Dhinakaran on Tuesday cast his vote at Damodarapuram Middle school in Adyar.
Speaking to reporters, he claimed people of Kovilpatti will ensure his victory with a margin of 50,000 votes.
He also alleged that fear of losing has gripped the ruling AIADMK and horse-trading happened in which some of his party candidates were bought.
Dharmapuri district as of 1 pm records 46.56% polling.
Kancheepuram at 1 pm records 33 % polling. The Uthiramerur constituency recorded 46% polling in the four of the Assembly constituencies in Kancheepuram district. The Kancheepuram constituency registered 39%, followed by Sriperumbudur 38% and Alandur registering the lowest at 27%. Overall, the Kancheepuram district had 33 % as per the collectorate released at 1 p.m.
As of 12 noon, the polling percentage in eight constituencies of Tiruppur district are:
Avinashi – 17%, Dharapuram – 15.22%, Kangeyam – 19.6%, Madathukulam – 19.2%, Palladam – 27%, Tiruppur North – 24.5%, Tiruppur South – 25.8% and Udumalpet – 18.6%
Polling crosses 30% in Salem, Namakkal
Steady polling was witnessed in Salem and Namakkal districts. By 11 a.m.
By 11 a.m. in Salem, 29.83% of votes were polled across 11 Assembly constituencies. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami exercised his franchise along with family at a polling booth in Siluvampalayam, Edappadi constituency from where Mr. Palaniswami is contesting.
Talking to press persons, Mr. Palaniswami appealed the public to exercise their democratic responsibility.
In Namakkal, District Election Officer K. Megraj inspected polling booths and said that minor technical glitches were reported at six places ahead of polling and it was attended to and polling was started at the right time. By 11 a.m., 31.51% of votes were polled in Namakkal.
Tiruppur Collector Dr. K. Vijayakarthikeyan denies rumours regarding a malfunctioning EVM at a polling station in Avinashi. “We have verified it thoroughly through our officials and there is no evidence of any such incident,” he said.
Senior citizen dies after casting his vote
A senior citizen died after exercising his franchise in Papanasam Constituency in Thanjavur district on Tuesday.
According to the District Election Officer and Collector M. Govinda Rao, the deceased, identified as Arjunan (62) of Ayyampettai had cast his vote at a school near his house. Subsequently Arjunan, with a history of low blood pressure, suddenly lost consciousness.
Immediately he was rushed to the government taluk hospital where he was declared dead on arrival, the DEO added.
Tenkasi district records 26.93 % at 11 a.m.
Sankarankovil 28.09 %, Vasudevanallur 27.96 %, Kadayanallur 20.49 %, Tenkasi 30.31 %, Alangulam 28.54 %.
Thoothukudi district records 25.07 % at 11 a.m.
A polling scene in Villupuram
Madurai district as of 11 a.m. records 23.70 %.
Tiruvannamalai at 11 a.m records 22.77 %.
The four assembly constituencies in Tirupathur records a total of 27.35 % polling as of 11 a.m.
Dharmapuri district records 20.95% as of 11 a.m.
Vellore district records 23.77 % polling at 11 a.m.
Vasan confident of win for AIADMK-led alliance
Tamil Maanila Congress (Moopanar) leader G.K. Vasan cast his vote at Chennai Higher Secondary School, Bheemanna Garden Street, Alwarpet.
Speaking to reporters, he requested the Election Commission to make suitable arrangements to enable senior citizens, differently-abled people and patients vote. Mr. Vasan also expressed confidence that the AIADMK led alliance will win the elections.
AIADMK-led alliance will win big in elections: Anbumani
PMK youth wing leader Anbumani Ramadoss exuded confidence that the AIADMK-led alliance will win big in the Assembly elections in the State.
Terming the opinion polls, which predicted a victory for the DMK-led alliance, as wrong, he felt that they were only imposition of opinion.
Congress stages protest in Coimbatore
Congress workers led by candidate Mayura Jayakumar staged a protest on Vysial Street alleging that the Coimbatore South Assembly constituency election officials and district administration officials were not acting on complaints that the BJP was distributing money.
Mr. Jayakumar’s chief election agent K. Karuppasamy said Congress cadre had caught red handed the BJP cadre distributing money and tokens at a shop on Vysial Street.
After seizing the same, the Congress cadre alerted the officials but no action was taken. Left with no choice, the Congress cadre were forced to stage protest.
On learning about the protest, Mr. Jayakumar also joined them, he added.
Tamil Nadu voting percentage at 11 a.m. is 26.29 %
Chennai voting percentage at 11 a.m. is 23.69 %
In 16 Assembly constituencies of Chennai District, 24.28% polling is registered.
– Rohit T.K.
TN CM casts his vote
Vaiko casts vote
Pudukottai district at 11 a.m.
23.5 % polling recorded up to 11 am in Pudukottai district encompassing six assembly segments
Kallakurichi district at 11 a.m.
Ulundurpet – 23.74 %, Rishivandhiyam – 19.92 %, Sankarapuram – 24.24 %, Kallakurichi – 25.65 %
Kancheepuram district 25 % at 11 a.m.
The Uthiramerur constituency recorded the highest at 28%, followed by Kancheepuram 26%, Alandur 23% and Sriperumbudur 21%.
Tenkasi district records 10.15 % at 9 a.m.
Sankarankovil 7.12 %, Vasudevanallur 7.81 %, Kadayanallur 9.66 %, Tenkasi 13.1 %, Alangulam 13.1 %.
Polling begin in a slow pace in Vellore, Ranipet, Tirupattur and Tiruvannamalai. From 6.45 a.m., people started queueing at polling booths in these four districts.
The officials ensured COVID-19 protocols were followed and all the voters were provided gloves. Temperature was also checked for everyone.
While Tiruvannamalai recorded 10.71% at 9 a.m, the four Assembly constituencies in Ranipet registered the following polling percentage: Arakonnam 12%, Sholinghur 4%, Ranipet 15.10% and Arcot 12% .
The Assembly constituencies in Tirupathur district recorded 16.58% and Vellore district recorded 10% as of 9 a.m. – Vivek Narayanan
PMK youth wing leader Anbumani Ramadoss casts his vote at a polling booth in Tindivanam in Villupuram district.
Police had a hard time on Tuesday controlling the crowd that had gathered to catch a glimpse of actor Vijay, who had come in to cast his vote in T.N. Assembly polls. Vijay left on a bike, with the police resorting to lathi charge to carve a way for him to leave.
An update from southern Tamil Nadu:
Voting percentage in the first two hours was reported at less than 10% in the 10 southern districts, where voting is on in 58 Assembly constituencies and in one Lok Sabha constituency in Kanniyakumari.
According to the data released from the district administration at 10 a.m., Dindigul recorded 8.52% voter turnout, Theni 8.39%, Ramanathapuram 5.50%, Tirunelveli 3.28%, Tenkasi 3.47%, Kanniyakumari 1.8%, Madurai 6.07%, and Thoothukudi 6.8%. Data is yet to be released from Virudhunagar and Sivaganga districts.
The polling, which started at 7 a.m., began on a dull note in urban locations. Voters, including first time and senior citizens, possessed the EPIC (Electors Photo Identity Card) and the booth slips issued to them by the officials.
Kushboo casts her vote
An update from western Tamil Nadu:
At the stroke of 7 a.m., electorate were seen making a beeline to the polling stations resulting in long serpentine queues in many parts of western Tamil Nadu comprising eight revenue districts.
In fact, the polling staff were caught unawares as they were busy with preparatory work and mock polling. In many polling stations, conservancy workers were busy cleaning and marking personal distancing circles. This resulted in piling up of voters in large numbers and the crowd started melting only after 9.30 a.m.
At a booth in Nanjundapuram, the brisk turn out triggered a debate among the booth agents on whether it was a fall out of anti-incumbency only to be countered quickly that voters want to discharge their duty before the temperature rises.
Kinathukkadavu, Pollachi and Valparai Assembly constituencies witnessed a brisk turn out. While there was optimal compliance to COVID-19 norms in urban areas in terms of personal distancing, masks and sanitisers, rural areas almost saw nil compliance.
Polling largely incident free in Tiruppur district. The first hour of polling in Tiruppur district did not witness any untoward incidents, officials said on Tuesday.
Election Commission has not taken money distribution complaints seriously, says Seeman
NaamTamilar Katchi leader Seeman on Tuesday cast his vote at Vailankanni School, Ashtalakshmi Nagar, Valasaravakkam in Chennai.
Speaking to reporters, he alleged that the Election Commission has not taken the complaints about money distribution to voters seriously.
Mr. Seeman said that he felt voting through Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) was a pain, and that the plea to shift to paper ballot voting (like in developed countries) has been rejected both by the Election Commission and the courts.
Over 1.72 lakh out of 40.54 lakh electors have voted in the 16 Assembly constituencies of Chennai, says Chennai district election office.
Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu witnessed 13.80% polling till 9 a.m., according to CEO.
An update from Central Tamil Nadu:
Brisk polling was witnessed at several polling stations in Tiruchi and neighouring districts in central region on Tuesday.
Voters queued up at several polling stations early in the morning to avoid the severe heat and crowd. However, voting began on a slow note in polling booths in Tiruverumbur constituency in Tiruchi district.
While the turnout was average at the booths in Malaikovil and Vengur areas, voters were sparse in number at Devarayaneri, which has a settlement of Narikuravas. At Devarayaneri, only a little more than 40 voters had cast their votes until 9.30 a.m. Wheel chairs for elders were not available at Devarayaneri booth though there was a ramp.
People voting with enthusiasm, says DMK president Stalin
DMK president M.K. Stalin on Tuesday cast his vote for the Assembly elections in SIET College in Chennai and said that people are voting with enthusiasm and the polling process is going on peacefully.
Speaking to reporters, he said a higher voter turnout implies that the verdict is anti-incumbency, against the ruling AIADMK.
Mr. Stalin alleged that the AIADMK had sought to rescind the polls (in some constituencies) due to fear of losing elections.
He also said it is for the Election Commission to take action against money distribution.
Mr. Stalin was accompanied by wife Durga and son Udhayanidhi Stalin.
Brisk polling in Villupuram
Brisk polling was witnessed in the seven Assembly constituencies in Villupuram district on Tuesday.
Long queues of voters could be seen in front of polling booths in Tindivanam, Villupuram and Mailam.
COVID-19 protocols were adhered to and officials had marked circles in the polling booths to ensure physical distancing by voters.
Voters had their hands sanitised and were screened with thermal scanners before entering the polling booths.
PMK founder S. Ramadoss exercised his franchise at a polling booth at Sri Maragadhambigai High School in Tindivanam at around 7.30 a.m.
Speaking to reporters, Dr. Ramadoss claimed that people were happy with the performance of the AIADMK government and said that good governance should continue in the State.
Replying to a question on opinion polls predicting a landslide victory for the DMK-led front in the elections, he said that people attached little value to opinion polls.
“They are not opinion polls but only a compulsory imposition of opinions,” he said.
A total of 16,85,810 voters are expected to cast their votes in the election. Of the total 2,368 polling stations, as many as 53 and 33 booths had been identified as vulnerable and critical respectively.
Panneerselvam casts his vote
2 women-polling booths in Nilgiris
In the Nilgiris, two all women-polling booths have been set up.
The two polling booths are at St. Joseph’s College of Education and the Gel Memorial Girls Higher Secondary School in Udhagamdandalam. Both booths, in Udhagamandalam constituency, have polling officers, presiding officers and security personnel who are women. – Rohan Premkumar
First time voters speak…
Mercy Devadarshini, a 22-year-old first time voter said she was excited to cast her vote for the first time. She couldn’t vote last time as her ID came in late and hence was looking forward to it this time. – Sunitha Sekar
Ninteen-year-old Gautam Ravi, a BTech mechanical engineering student, cast his vote for first time at the voting centre in Don Bosco school, Katpadi . He said he and all his friends were excited. “My friends will opt for NOTA. I have a strong political view and I have cast my vote accordingly,” he said.
His sister Divya Ravi, a medical student, also came to the booth to vote, but her booth slip was not there. “Last time also I couldn’t vote, this time also there is some confusion,” she said. – Vivek Narayanan
DMK leader Stalin casts his vote
Facilities provided for senior citizens
In polling booths in many parts of Chennai, including T. Nagar, Teynampet and Egmore, senior citizens walked into polling booths as early as 6.30 a.m. While in some booths voters stood in queues maintaining social distancing, crowds were reported at many place.
At the polling booth in Hindi Prachar Sabha, senior citizens were given masks, gloves and sanitisers and temperature checks were done. A few senior citizens came in wheelchair and said that the facilities were comfortable for them.
– Sangeetha Kandavel, S. Sunitha and K. Lakshmi
Polling delayed in parts of Chennai city
Polling began late at several booths in Chennai city. Even after 7 a.m, conservancy workers were seen cleaning the premises and election officials were holding preparatory meeting. Many voters who had queued up in long lines grew agitated.
Additionally, many were made to travel across booths as they were not provided booth slips which inform which polling booths they should go to cast their votes. Often, they had had to depend on political functionaries at street corners for information on polling booths.
At SIET College in Teynampet, polling started around 7 a.m. except in one booth where it was delayed for half hour. A few polling booths in Ambattur were crowded as early as 7.45 a.m. There was initial hiccups in voting process. The polling process was delayed by half hour and this led to crowding at Kallikuppam, where there were no marks to indicate how physical distancing is to be maintained.
The Guru Nanak School in Chennai, which doubled as a voting centre, looked festive with its entrance decorated with balloons, vazhai maram and shamiyana, and the box of chocolates that welcomed each voter. But the voting machine in one of the four rooms that was assigned for women malfunctioned for an hour, delaying the start of voting by an hour.
– R. Sivaraman, R. Sujatha, Sangeetha Kandavel, S. Sunitha and K. Lakshmi
State’s Minister for Higher Education casts his vote
Chennai queues up to vote
Voters began to queue up at booths from as early as 6.45 a.m. in South Chennai.
People have been designated to carry out temparature checks and give sanitiser to the voters and disposable gloves were being given as well. Voters at the Chennai High School in Eldams road who queued up at 7 a.m. were all seen wearing masks.
Actor and Makkal Needhi Maiam President Kamal Haasan cast his vote along with his daughters Shruti Haasan and Akshara Haasan at Eldams Road. In Thiruvanmiyur, actors Ajith and Shalini cast their votes early in the morning as well. Actors Surya and Karthi too exercised their franchise in a polling booth at T.Nagar. – S. Poorvaja
Many commuters who are employed in Hosur were unable to find buses back to their home town in Tirupathur on election day to cast their votes.
EVM snag delays voting in the booth at St. Michael’s Primary School, Tharuvaikulam in Ottapidaaram (Reserved) constituency in Thoothukudi district.
No vote has been polled so far as voters waiting in long queue in this coastal hamlet.
Former Union Minister P.Chidambaram casts his vote
Brisk polling in Karur
Polling for the Assembly elections has begun on a brisk note in four constituencies in Karur district.
Long queues were seen in most of booths in Kulithalai, Krishnarayapuram and Aravakuruchi. Several voters reached the booths even before 7 a.m. All voters were sanitised before reaching their respective booths. Similarly, plastic gloves were distributed to the voters for protecting themselves from COVID-19 infection while casting vote. – C. Jaisankar
Rajini, Ajith, Surya among early voters
People started lining up early in the morning eagerly to cast their votes. Actors Rajinikanth and Ajith Kumar were among the early voters in Chennai.
Polling begins in Tamil Nadu
Polling in 234 Assembly seats in Tamil Nadu went underway at 7 a.m. on Tuesday.
A total of 3998 candidates including heavyweights like Chief Minister K Palaniswami, deputy CM O Panneerselvam, DMK President M K Stalin, AMMK founder TTV Dhinakaran and Makkal Needhi Maiam President Kamal Haasan are in the fray.
The Election Commission will be conducting the polls with due covid-19 health protocols such as checking the temperature of voters.
BJP clarifies on posters
With reference to the poll snippet relating to posters by BJP that appeared on April 5, 2021, BJP has clarified that no such poster was printed by the party terming Tamil Nadu as Dakshina Pradesh.
With regard to the posters and the images that went viral on social media, BJP spokesperson Narayanan Thirupathy told The Hindu that the posters were definitely not printed or pasted by the party and in fact the posters by the party had used the word Tamil Nadu.
When asked whether somebody else was behind the posters, he replied that it could be political opponents with an ulterior motive to damage the poll prospects of the BJP.
For the first time, EVMs carried up Neknamalai in a vehicle
Forty-year old Chinnathayi looks astonished as she sees a vehicle, carrying the EVM unit, snake up through a dusty dirt road on the rocky Neknamalai hill in Vaniyambadi Taluk. This is the first time the unit is being carried up the hill using motorised transport.
“All these years, the machines used to be carried on donkeys or using dolis up the hill to Neknamalai village located five kilometers away from the foothills. This time, the dirt road was created by clearing the rocks to give us COVID-19 relief and because ministers visited our village, ” recalls Ms. Chinnathayi, who was walking to the village with a bag of vegetables due to lack of transport facility.
Sasikala’s name ‘deleted’ from voters list, says her counsel
The name of V K Sasikala, confidante of late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, has been ‘removed’ from the voters list and it is an ‘injustice,’ her legal counsel said in Chennai on Monday.
She was sad about it and legal action would be initiated against the official responsible, he said.