Chennai: Polling for the first ever post-Jayalalithaa, Karunanidhi period Assembly election in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry passed off peacefully on Tuesday. While Tamil Nadu with an electorate size of 6,28,69,955 saw an average turnout of 71.79% at the close of polling at 7 pm, Puducherry with an electorate of 10,04,507 saw an 81.88% voter turnout.
The figures are likely to be revised upwards on Wednesday when polling figures from each constituency is made available.
The fate of contestants in 234 Assembly constituencies in Tamil Nadu, which witnessed a five-cornered contest; and 30 constituencies in Puducherry, where the Congress-led UPA and AINRC-led NDA are facing off, were sealed at the close of polling hours.
Being the first polling in the State in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, arrangements were made in the last hour to allow infected patients to cast their votes dressed in PPE suits. Prominent leaders, who had tested positive for novel coronavirus, who cast their votes were DMK women’s wing leader Kanimozhi and AIADMK presidium chairman Madusudhanan.
According to figures released by Tamil Nadu Chief Electoral Officer Satyabrata Sahoo, voter response in the capital city of Chennai, which has 16 constituencies, was the lowest at 59.40%. The highest turnout of 78% was recorded in Kallakurichi, a new district in north Tamil Nadu.
The tentative figure of the overall turnout was less than the 74.81% recorded in the 2016 Assembly elections.
Polling was largely peaceful with only stray complaints of attack on the vehicles of Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam’s son O P Raveendranath and DMK Thondamuthur candidate Karthikeya Sivasenapathy.
Actor Kamal Haasan complained that tokens were distributed to voters [for exchange for gift/cash at a later date] in his Coimbatore South constituency by the BJP on behalf of Vanathi Srinivasan, party Mahila Morcha president and candidate.
Chief Minister and AIADMK leader Edappadi K Palaniswami and DMK president M K Stalin expressed confidence that their respective parties would be voted to power.
Counting of votes would take place on May 2.
EC Notice to Stalin:
Meanwhile, the Election Commission of India issued notice to DMK youth wing leader Udhayanidhi Stalin to respond by 5 pm on Wednesday over his remarks that former Union Ministers Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj had died due to pressure from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.