Voting for the presidential election in Tamil Nadu was over in just about two hours today with 232 legislators, Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan, and a Kerala MLA casting their votes at the Assembly secretariat conference hall here. Chief Electoral Officer, Tamil Nadu, Rajesh Lakhoni said the ballot box would be sealed at 5 PM and taken to Delhi by a 9.10 PM flight. Assistant Returning Officer (Secretary in charge of TN Assembly), K Boopathy will be taking the ballot box to Delhi along with Joint Secretary Subramanian, he told reporters. Leader of the Opposition and DMK Working President M K Stalin told reporters after casting his vote that his party chief M Karunanidhi would not be coming to vote in view of his health and doctor’s advice. “All our party MLAs (88 MLAs except Karunanidhi) have voted,” he told reporters after voting. While Chief Minister K Palaniswami was the first to cast his vote at 10 am, AIADMK (Puratchi Thalaivi Amma) legislator and former Minister S Semmalai was the last to exercise his franchise by 11.56 am. After Palaniswami, his cabinet colleagues including Forest Minister Dindigul C Srinivasan, and School Education Minister KA Sengottaiyan, rebel AIADMK leader O Panneerselvam, his loyalist and former Minister K Pandiarajan cast their votes. Following them, Stalin, Congress Legislature Party Leader K R Ramsamy, IUML MLA KM Mohammed Abubacker and all others voted.
Out of the 234 MLAs in TN Assembly, RK Nagar seat is vacant and Karunanidhi is not scheduled to vote and the rest of 232 legislators voted.
Besides them, Pon Radhakrishnan, representing Kanyakumari Lok Sabha constituency and Parikkal Abdullah from Kerala voted here taking the total number of voters here to 234. Radhakrishnan, authorised election representative (agent) of NDA candidate Ramnath Kovind, was present through the voting process. Besides Radhakrishnan, Semmalai and Assembly Deputy Speaker Pollachi V Jayaraman were also the authorised representatives of Kovind. For opposition candidate Meira Kumar, Congress MLA S Vijayadharani and DMK Whip R Sakkarapani were the authorised representatives.
The tenure of incumbent Pranab Mukherjee, the 13th president of India, ends on July 24. Earlier, at about 8.30 am the ballot box was inspected by authorities at the strong room in the Assembly complex and brought to the polling station (conference hall) by 9.10 am. Polling began at 10 am.
The polling station was sanitised by police and election officials yesterday, according to Lakhoni.
At the polling station, officials including Chief Electoral Officer, Observer, Assistant Returning officer cum presiding officer Boopahty were present. As soon as voters (MLAs and MP) arrived, their national serial number as prepared by the Election Commission was announced in the hall and after scrutiny, MLAs were given pink colour slips, while a green colour slip was given for the MP to vote.Meanwhile, at the neighbouring Puducherry all 30 elected legislators who are members of the Electoral College exercised their franchise. Speaker V Vaithilingam was first to vote, followed by Chief Minister V Narayanasamy, his cabinet colleagues and other legislators belonging to the ruling Congress and its alliance partner the DMK which has two members on its side.
Although the opposition AINRC has eight legislators in the House, one of its members P R N Tirumurugan representing Karaikal, however, turned up at the booth separately and after casting his vote he left the venue without talking to media. Tirumurugan virtually drew the attention of all those present at the venue.The remaining seven AINRC legislators including the Leader of the Opposition and former Chief Minister N Rangasamy also cast their votes.All the four AIADMK legislators also exercised their franchise in the forenoon. The polling ended at 12.45 PM