Voting for the Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry began at 7 am on Monday.
Polling to 232 Assembly seats in Tamil Nadu that will decide the fate of over 3700 candidates, including chief minister J Jayalalithaa and DMK chief M Karunanidhi, commenced at 7 am.
Electronic Voting Machines across 65,000-odd polling booths were opened for around 5.50 crore voters to cast their votes.
Over one lakh security personnel have been deployed to ensure peaceful elections.
Representational image. Reuters
Though Tamil Nadu has 234 assembly seats across 32 districts, polling is being held only for 232 as the Election Commission has postponed it for 23 May in Aravakurichi and Thanjavur segments following complaints of voters being bribed.
Besides Jayalalithaa (RK Nagar) and Karunanidhi (Thiruvarur), a host of leaders including DMDK founder Vijayakanth and PMK's Anbumani Ramadoss, both Chief Ministerial candidates, MK Stalin (DMK), H Raja and Tamilisai Sounderrajan of the BJP are in fray.
A total of 1,11,958 police personnel, including 21,780 para military personnel, would be involved in the election duty.
Moreover, the Tamil Nadu Labour department has set up control rooms in all 32 districts of the state to receive complaints of any violation by companies and commercial establishments in granting paid holiday to workers tomorrow to enable them cast their votes in the assembly elections.
With the aim of 100 percent voting, orders have been issued to commercial establishments to give paid holiday to their workers tomorrow under Sec 135 of the Representation of the People Act to facilitate all eligible voters to exercise their franchise, a Labour department release said.
Announcing the details of state and district-level control rooms with mobile telephone numbers, it said complaints could be lodged with Labour Commissioners on these numbers in case paid holiday was not granted on Monday.
The details were available on the department website labour.tn.gov.in, the release said.
The state is seeing a multi-cornered contest.
The ruling AIADMK is going to the polls aligning with a couple of smaller outfits fielding its candidates in 227 seats and the balance seven has been given to its allies.
The DMK has aligned with the Congress, two Muslim parties and some smaller outfits.
The third front led by the DMDK comprises the CPI-M, CPI, VCK, TMC and MDMK under its fold.
The PMK is going it alone while BJP has aligned with few smaller parties.
Though the fight is mainly between the AIADMK and the DMK, the polls might through up a surprise element as well.
Meanwhile, polling also began to elect the 30-member assembly in Puducherry at 7 am on Monday.
Over 9.4 lakh voters are expected to exercise their democratic right of voting to elect their representatives.
A total of 344 candidates are in the fray.
The main fight is between the Congress-DMK combine and the ruling All India NR Congress (AINRC).
The AIADMK — the ruling party in Tamil Nadu — is going it alone in Puducherry.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: May 16, 2016 16:51:43 IST