Barring Aravakurichi and Thanjavur, polling commenced in 232 constituencies across the State at 7 a.m. on Monday, in which over 5.7 crore people are expected to vote. Over 300 companies of paramilitary personnel are involved in election duty. The polling will continue till 6 p.m. today.
After heated campaigning for over two months of peak summer, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Union Territory Puducherry vote today to choose their next governments. While the AIADMK and the Congress-led UDF are hoping for a comeback in Tamil Nadu and Kerala respectively, the BJP is hoping to get a toe-hold in the two key southern states.
There are 234 seats in the assembly but the polling for one, Avarakurichi, Karur, has been postponed by a week by the Election Commission of India, owing to the amount of money seized from the constituency in recent days. The results for the other 233 seats will be announced on Thursday; counting for Aravakurichi will be on Saturday.
The AIADMK has fielded its candidates in 227 seats, the first time it is contesting more than 200 on its own; its allies are in the other seven, and contesting on its poll symbol. The DMK has fielded 180 candidates, the DMDK 104, Congress 41, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) 188, Bahujan Samaj Party 158, the Communist parties 25 each and Nationalist Congress Party 20. There are 1,566 candidates contesting independently.
For every political party in the state, the reigning Kollywood superstars (think Rajinikanth, Kamal Haasan, Vijay, Ajith) and their support — silent or otherwise — during elections is very important.