Assembly polls 2016: Record polling in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Puducherry till noon
Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Puducherry are voting to elect new assembly
Brisk polling has been reported in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry with 43.88 percent turnout in kerala till noon and over 40 percent in Tamil Nadu. Meantime, Puducherry registered 50.43 percent turnout till 1 am.
Chief ministers J Jayalalithaa and Oomen Chandy were among the leaders who cast their votes in the early morning session.
Both leaders expressed confidence that they will retain power in their states. Kerala Chief minister Oomen Chandy said people will repose faith in his government and UDF will rule the state for another five years
Tamil Nadu chief minister said in two days time the verdict of the people will be out and she expects AIADMK will get thumping majority
In Tamil Nadu's Thanjavur polling has been postponed in two constituencies of Aravakuruchi and Thanjavur after the election commission has found " vitiating effect of of money power created by the distribution of money and gifts items to voters. Polling will be held on 23 May in these constituencies.
In Kerala, before polling commenced voters were seen queuing before polling booths in many constituencies. High security has been arranged in sensitive booths in the state.
In Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa is seeking a second successive term in office. Her biggest rival is 91-year-old M Karunanidhi, who is fighting a battle to bring back DMK, back into power. There are two other contenders for the top post in the four-cornered contest in the state: actor-turned-politician Vijayakanth of DMDK-PWF-TMC combine and PMK's Anbumani Ramadoss
Opinion polls suggested Jayalalitha's AIADMK stands a chance to return to power in the state for the second time.
Election authorities have seized more than Rs 100 crore unaccounted cash from various places in the state . This has triggered allegations of cash for votes against the ruling AIADMK. Voting is being held for 232 seats in the state.
In Kerala where power has alternated between CPIM led Left Democratic Front(LDF) and the Congress led United Democratic Front(UDF). Majority of the opinion polls suggested LDF may come back to power after a span of five years. Though chief minister Oomen Chandy is facing serious charges of corruption against his government he has exuded confidence that the UDF will retain power in a three cornered fight. BJP, is trying desperately this time to open its account in the state. BJP national leaders, prime minister Narendra Modi and his ministerial colleagues have attended many election campaign rallies in the state.
In Puducherry Chief Minister N Rangaswamy, the leader of All India NR Congress is seeking re-election.
Voting will conclude at 6 pm. Various news agencies have announced they will publish the exit poll results after the conclusion of voting.
Counting will be held on 19 of this months for the five state Assembly, for which poll started last month. Apart from the three states that go to poll today, Assam and West Bengal will have a new government by the end of this month.