Free Press Journal

Tamil Nadu voters seal fate of 845 candidates, turnout 73 percent


Chennai: Around 73 percent of Tamil Nadu’s voters turned out to vote Thursday, sealing the political fate of 845 candidates including 55 women and one transgender in the state’s 39 Lok Sabha seats, said Election Commission.

The polling percentage this time was more or less equals the 2009 figures of 72.98 percent, a poll official said.

It was a brisk polling through out Thursday since balloting began at 7 a.m. Voting was largely peaceful except for some stray incidents in couple of constituencies.

Complaints were made against some information technology (IT) companies for forcing their employees to work instead of allowing them to vote.

“We found several companies not giving permission to their employees to exercise their democratic right. Around 5,000 employees working in five companies were relieved from duty today. A police complaint against the companies have been lodged,” poll official D.Ravichandran told IANS.

Leaders of various political parties, movie actors and people from various walks of life exercised their ballot power.

Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa, DMK chief M. Karunanidhi, DMDK’s A. Vijayakant, MDMK’s Vaiko and leaders of other political parties voted.

Tamil movie actor Rajinikanth was one of the early voters. Others like Kamal Haasan, Ajith and his wife Shalini, Senthil, Vijay and others also exercised their franchise.

Speaking to reporters after voting, Jayalalitaa, also the AIADMK general secretary, said: “I request all political parties and general public to cooperate with the Election Commission (EC) to ensure voting is peaceful and fair.”

Asked about the action taken by the Election Commission on the complaints made by DMK against rival AIADMK, Karunanidhi told reporters: “No action seems to have been taken.”

The DMK Wednesday complained to the poll panel about the AIADMK distributing Rs.3,000 in cash for every vote and urged the EC to take action to curb the malpractice.

The party also complained that police were supporting the AIADMK in the distribution of cash to voters.

Karunanidhi hoped his party would win more seats this time than the 18 of the total 39 in 2009.

Of the electorate, 27 million are women and nearly 13 percent are in the age group of 18 to 25 years.

Voting was held in a single phase at over 60,000 polling stations, of which 9,226 had been identified as sensitive.

About 150,000 security personnel had been deployed.

Many voters headed for the polling stations right after their early morning walk.

“The polling process is smooth. The voters’ queues moved briskly,” V. Nitya, a voter in South Chennai constituency, told IANS.

At several polling stations, electronic voting machines did not function initially, delaying the balloting. Officials said the malfunctioning machines were attended to.

In the Alandur assembly by-poll the voting percentage was around 62 percent. Fourteen candidates are in the fray for the assembly seat.