While polling will be held between 7 am and 6 pm in 37 constituencies, it has been extended by two hours until 8 pm in Madurai Lok Sabha segment, due to the Chithirai festival, which marks the grand entry of Lord Kallazhagar into the Vaigai river.
Tamil Nadu recorded 13.48 per cent voting till 9:am Thursday in 38 Lok Sabha constituencies of the state, where Union minister Pon Radhakrishnan, DMK’s Dayanidhi Maran and Kanimozhi and Karti Chidambaram of the Congress are among key contenders. Besides the 38 of the 39 Lok Sabha seats, bypolls to 18 Assembly segments are also underway. Chief Electoral Officer Satyabrata Sahoo said polling was peaceful.
Polling stations were teeming with enthusiastic voters even before 7 am when polling began and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami was among the early electors in his native Salem district. Palaniswami and DMK President MK Stalin waited in queue at Edappadi and Chennai, respectively, for casting their votes.
While senior Congress leader P Chidambaram voted at Kandanur in Sivaganga district, AMMK leader TTV Dhinakaran excised his franchise along with his family here. Top actor Rajinikanth and popular stars Vijay and Ajith Kumar voted in Chennai.
BJP’s Tamil Nadu unit chief Tamilisai Soundararjan and actor and Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) president Kamal Haasan also cast their votes here. Though there were no reports of any untoward incidents anywhere in the state so far, technical glitches delaying the start of polling were reported in a number of booths.
Sahoo said the issues were being addressed to. Polling has been “very peaceful,” he told reporters here. The state’s electorate is 5.84 crore (after deducting the 14.26 lakh voters in Vellore). Strong and adequate security arrangements which includes over 160 companies of central police forces and one lakh state police personnel, have been made. In the run-up to the polls, election authorities had seized over Rs 129 crore cash, gold and other precious metals with a total value of over Rs 284 crore from all over the state.
Tamil Nadu has a total of 67,720 polling stations and 7,780 booths have been categorised as critical and vulnerable where more Central Armed Police Forces personnel, and micro observers were deployed. Measures like webcasting and videographing of the proceedings are also in place. As many as 1,50,302 ballot units, 89,160 control units and 94,653 VVPAT which allows the electors to cross check the votes they have cast for seven seconds are available. Every constituency has one all-women polling station. While polling will be held between 7 am and 6 pm in 37 constituencies, it has been extended by two hours until 8 pm in Madurai Lok Sabha segment, due to the Chithirai festival, which marks the grand entry of Lord Kallazhagar into the Vaigai river.