Kerala Tamil Nadu
Polling in 21,498 booths to elect representatives to the 140-member Kerala Assembly, Underway smoothly. The 2.61 crore electorate will be choosing their representatives from the 1203 candidates, including 109 women, who are in the fray.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala, IUML leader and Industries Minister PK Kunhalikutty, Kerala Congress (Mani) supremo and former Finance minister, K M Mani, 93-year-old V S Achuthanandan, CPI-M leader, Politburo member, Pinarayi Vijayan, BJP state president, Kummanam Rajasekharan and cricketer-turned politician Sreesanth are among those contesting.
Among the early voters were Pinarayi Vijayan, actor and BJP Rajya Sabha MP Suresh Gopi and Congress MLA Sabarinath. Even before polling began at 7 am, people had begun queueing up at various booths. Some parts of the state received rain showers this morning.
At least 52,000 police personnel have been deployed across Kerala for the smooth conduct of the polls, with 3176 polling stations being identified as 'sensitive, critical and vulnerable', including 119 in naxal affected areas of four districts.
Voting 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 this morning.
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. 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 May 23 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 Vijayakant 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.
Voters in Southern UT Puducherry this morning started exercising their franchise to elect 30 members to the territorial Assembly. Electorates turned up at the booths armed with Electoral Photo Identity cards as well as voter slips issued by the election authorities.
The 9.41 lakh voters, of whom 4.94 lakh are women, are spread over the 30 segments in Puducherry, Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam, and will decide the electoral and political prospects of 344 contestants including 96 independents.
Important candidates in the fray are Chief Minister and AINRC founder N Rangasamy seeking re-election from Indira Nagar segment, Leader of the Opposition and former Chief Minister V Vaithilingam (Cong) seeking to retain Kamaraj Nagar segment, PCC leader A Namassivayam seeking to retain Villianoor and Speaker of Puducherry Assembly V Sabapathy contesting again from Ariyankuppam.
Four cabinet colleagues of Rangasamy-- P R Siva, T Thiagarajan, P Rajavelu and N G Panneerselvam are seeking to retain their respective seats as AINRC nominees.
Rangasamy's other cabinet colleague, M Chandrakasu has opted out of the poll battle citing health reasons. But his daughter Chandrapriyanka is contesting as AINRC nominee in Neduncadu reserved segment in Karaikal.
Former Home Minister P Kannan, who joined AIADMK in February this year after quitting Congress, is crossing swords in Raj Bhavan segment with Congress nominee and former Education Minister K Lakshminarayanan.
Of all the constituencies, Oulgaret segment has the maximum number of 17 candidates. AINRC, BJP and PMK are going it alone in the polls while Congress and DMK have firmed up an alliance. While Congress is contesting from 21 segments, DMK is contesting the rest.