Election officials prepare polling stations on the eve of the Tamil Nadu state legislative assembly elections, in Chennai on April 5, 2021.
Election officials prepare polling stations on the eve of the Tamil Nadu state legislative assembly elections, in Chennai on April 5, 2021.
(Photo by AFP)

Chennai: Tamil Nadu and Puducherry are all set to elect new governments on Tuesday when polling will be held from 7 am to 7 pm, an extension of two hours in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Voters of Tamil Nadu would decide if the AIADMK government under Edappadi K Palaniswami must be given a back-to-back victory or if DMK's longtime prince in waiting should be given an opportunity to lead the state. Puducherry, which does not have an elected government, would choose between the UPA and NDA.

Tamil Nadu Chief Electoral Officer Satyabrata Sahoo told journalists that all measures were in place to ensure fair and free polling. The state has an electorate of over 6.28 crore. It has 234 Assembly constituencies, while Puducherry has 30 seats.

On representations for cancellation of polls for alleged cash distribution in some seats, Sahoo said a report has been sent to the Chief Election Commissioner, who could take a decision any time. In all 1,29,165 ballot units and 91,180 control units and 91,180 VVPAT units have been kept ready. The number of polling stations is 88,937, an increase from about 67,000 in 2016.

As many as 4,17,521 personnel will be on polling duty, while 1,58,263 from police and non-police forces would be deployed. Masks and sanitizers will be made available at polling booths. Besides, PPE kits would be provided for COVID-19 infected persons to enable them cast their votes.

As of Sunday, ₹428.46 crore worth seizures were made, out of which ₹225.52 crore was cash.

Meanwhile, V K Sasikala, aide of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, will be unable to vote as her name was removed from the electoral rolls, while she was serving a prison term in Bengaluru.

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