Assembly Polls: Puducherry registers 81.94 percent, 71 percent in Kerala and 69.19 in TN
The Assembly elections in the southern states of the country came to an end with Tamil Nadu registering 69.19 percent, while Kerala registered about 71 percent and 81.94 percent in Puducherry. The polling in all three states were peaceful barring some incidents in handful of constituencies.
In Tamil Nadu, Chennai witnessed to the lower polling.
Leaders of all major political parties were among the early voters.
Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa and AIADMK general secretary, however, did not make the usual claims about the electoral outcome.
“In two days’ time, the people’s verdict will be known,” she said after voting here.
DMK chief and former chief minister M. Karunanidhi, his son and party treasurer M.K. Stalin and state BJP leader Tamilisai Soundararajan voted in Chennai. Congress leader P. Chidambaram voted in Sivaganga district.
Speaking to reporters, Karunanidhi said the DMK-Congress combine was poised to win and form the next government.
Madurai, Tiruchirapalli and some places in southern districts saw rains, which in turn slowed down the voting.
In Chennai, voting was progressing briskly, officials said. Actors Kamal Hassan, Rajinikanth, Ajith, Sundar. C and Kushboo voted in the city.
The voting turnout in Kerala was 71 at 6 pm. Kozhikode topped all districts in polling, where Pathanamthitta was in the bottom.
Long queues formed outside polling centres across the state right from 7 a.m. despite rains, with officials saying that 43.88 percent of the 26 million voters had exercised their franchise by 1 p.m.
Both Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and CPI-M veteran V.S. Achuthanandan asserted that their coalitions were set to win the electoral battle.
Chandy said after casting his vote that he was confident the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) would retain its majority in the assembly.
“We are certain the people will give us one more chance,” Chandy told the media at his hometown Puthupally near Kottayam.
Marxist leader Achuthanandan, contesting from Malampuzha in Palakkad district, met voters one last time before returning to Alappuzha to cast his vote.
“There is a slight rain and this is a good omen,” he said. “There is a huge wave in our favour. We are heading for a landslide victory.People are going to show the exit door to Chandy.”
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is hoping to enter the Kerala assembly for the first time.
State BJP president Kummanem Rajasekheran, contesting in Vatiyoorkavu in the state capital, said things were looking very bright for the BJP.
“There is a strong opposition to both the Left and the Congress. That’s why we are hugely confident this time,” he said.
Meantime, Puducherry registered 80 percent polling in the time of official closure.Earlier, Congress party in Puducherry has requested the election commission to extend the voting time till 9 p.m.
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.
Closure of factories, job loss and lack of infrastructure development are the main poll issues in the state against the incumbent Chief Minister N.Rangasany
In this union territory the Congress-DMK combine is hoping to defeat the ruling All-India NR Congress (AINRC) government headed by Rangasamy.
The parties in the fray include Congress, AINRC, DMK, AIADMK, BJP, CPI, CPI-M, PMK and others.