Tamil Nadu Election 2021: Over 6.28 cr voters set to cast ballots today; polls open at 7 am
The election will decide whether the incumbent AIADMK will secure a third term or the DMK will return to power after a decade in opposition
The single-phased Tamil Nadu Assembly election will be conducted today, on 6 April.
The polling, which will be held with strict COVID-19 protocol, will commence at 7 am and end at 6 pm.
A total of 234 Assembly constituencies will go to polls on Tuesday, and as many as 3,998 candidates — including Chief Minister K Palaniswami, his deputy O Panneerselvam, DMK president MK Stalin, AMMK founder TTV Dhinakaran, actor and Makkal Needhi Maiam founder Kamal Haasan, Naam Tamizhar Katchi leader Seeman and BJP state unit chief L Murugan — are in the fray.
The polls will decide whether the incumbent AIADMK will secure a third term or the DMK will return to power after a decade in Opposition.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Congress president Rahul Gandhi were among those who campaigned for the respective ruling and Opposition alliances.
Over 6.28 crore eligible voters will cast their vote on Tuesday.
In their "final appeal" to voters before the end of campaigning on Sunday evening, Palaniswami and Panneerselvam sought votes to ensure "Amma rule" continued in the state, referring to the party-led government.
AIADMK is part of the National Democratic Alliance, and the other constituents are the BJP, PMK and some local outfits. The two leaders said in a statement that late former chief minister MG Ramachandran had founded AIADMK to "protect people of Tamil Nadu from the evil force" of the DMK.
"The DMK was luring women voters with false promises and only the AIADMK can assure a peaceful, welfare state with all-round development," they said.
"Let's stop the evil force from rearing its head again in order to protect the people of Tamil Nadu. This will be the gratitude we can show to Puratchi Thalaivar (Ramachandran) and Puratchi Thalaivi Amma (Late J Jayalalithaa) for their selfless work," they said.
Stalin, meanwhile, sought an opportunity for the party-led Secular Progressive Alliance. "Let the Rising Sun (DMK symbol) rise. Let's retrieve our lost rights. Let's make Tamil Nadu hold its head high," said Stalin, who has been accusing the ruling AIADMK of compromising on the state's rights on issues such as NEET.
தமிழ்நாடு முழுவதும் ஒவ்வொரு ஊரிலும் மிகப்பெரிய எழுச்சியும் வரவேற்பும் தந்த தமிழக மக்களுக்கு உணர்வுபூர்வமான நன்றி!
இம்முறை திமுக கூட்டணிக்கு வாய்ப்பு தாருங்கள்.
இழந்த உரிமைகளை மீட்டெடுப்போம். நம் தாய்த் தமிழ்நாட்டை மீண்டும் தலைநிமிரச் செய்வோம்! pic.twitter.com/TkNZwrVdId
— M.K.Stalin (@mkstalin) April 4, 2021
The DMK has been in the Opposition since 2011, when the AIADMK under Jayalalithaa stormed to power and also retained the chief minister's office in the subsequent elections in 2016.
Meanwhile, in the run-up to the 2021 election, the EC said that Rs 428.46 crore was seized in case and other assets in Tamil Nadu. The total cash seizure alone was Rs 225.5 crore, the rest being precious metal such as gold, besides liquor, an official release said.
"Last 72 hours are extremely sensitive from expenditure stand point. Towards this, round the clock surveillance along with CAPF (Central Armed Police Forces) teams has been taken up," it said.
Patrolling has been strengthened, along with expenditure teams and this has resulted in significant seizure in the last 24 hours, the statement added.
This included cash seizure of Rs 91.56 lakh in Ranipet district, Rs 1.23 crore in Thousand lights constituency, Chennai and Rs 1.15 crore at Veerapandi, Salem, it said.
It further said that in Tamil Nadu, 105 expenditure sensitive constituencies have been identified and extra efforts as mandated by Election Commission were strengthened.
As many as 118 Expenditure Observers have been drafted to monitor expenditure by candidates and political parties.
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