Chennai: Tamil Nadu recorded about 25 per cent polling and Kerala an impressive 45 per cent till 1 PM in today’s closely fought Assembly polls which largely remained peaceful.
In Tamil Nadu, polling got off to a brisk start at 8 am reaching the 25 per cent mark by 1 PM as the voters turned out braving the scorching summer heat to exercise their franchise.
Voters came out in large numbers and seen queueing up in both urban and rural areas in Kerala where the ruling CPI(M)-led LDF and UDF-headed by Congress are locked in a fierce battle.
In the union territory of Puducherry, about 40 per cent of the voters cast their votes by 1 PM to elect 30 members to the assembly. Official sources in Thiruvananthapuram said voting was progressing peacefully in all the 140 segments without any untoward incident.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK President M Karunanidhi and his arch-rival AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa, whose fortunes are being decided today, crossed swords levelling allegations against each other after casting their votes.
Besides them, Rajnikant and Kamal Hassan were among the celebrities who cast their votes in the morning. Jayalalithaa alleged the state government had refused to pay the daily allowance of security personnel on election duty and expressed apprehension that DMK men might create violence and cast bogus votes in the event of them going on strike.
Hitting back, Karunanidhi referred to the death of Vikravandi Panchayat Chairman Arjunan in an alleged attack by some unidentified persons and said “one can make out from this who is unleashing violence,” hinting at her party’s alleged involvement.
Both Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi exuded confidence that their combine would get the mandate in the 234-member Assembly. In Kerala, where a total of 971 candidates, including 78 women, are in the fray seeking the mandate of over 2.31 crore voters, politically hyperactive Alappuzha and Kannur districts marked brisk polling of 44 per cent and 40 per cent respectively by mid-day.
Speaking to reporters in Alappuzha, 87-yearold Marxist war horse Achuthanandan said, “We will win majority both in Malampuzha (where he is contesting) and the state”.
Besides Achuthanandan, other prominent candidates in the fray are UDF’s chief ministerial front runner Oommen Chandy (Puthupally), KPCC President Ramesh Chennithala (Harippad), IUML leader P K Kunhalikutty (Vengara) and senior BJP leader O Rajagopal (Nemom).