Measures like webcasting and videographing of the proceedings are also in place.
Polling for Tamil Nadu’s 38 Lok Sabha constituencies and bypolls in 18 assembly segments began Thursday and Union minister Pon Radhakrishnan, and DMK’s Dayanidhi Maran and Kanimozhi are among the key contenders for parliamentary polls. Polling stations were teeming with enthusiastic voters even before 7am when polling began and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami was among the early electors in his native Salem district. Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram, top actor Rajinikanth voted at Sivaganga district’s Kandanur and Chennai respectively.
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, technical glitches delaying the start of polling were reported in a number of booths. 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 7am and 6pm in 37 constituencies, it has been extended by two hours until 8pm in Madurai Lok Sabha segment, due to the Chithirai festival, which marks the grand entry of Lord Kallazhagar into the Vaigai river.