BeyondHeadlines Special Correspondent
Chennai, Tamil Nadu: Brisk and peaceful polling is going on in different parts of Tamil Nadu with Srirangam experiencing the maximum turnout of 30 percent after two hours of voting that began at 8 a.m. today for the 234-member assembly. On an average, the turnout was around 25 percent across the state. Even in Madurai, the fiefdom of union chemicals and fertilizers minister and Karunanidhi’s elder son MK Alagiri, where the Election Commission unleashed a slew of measures of check money power and muscle power, polling has been peaceful so far.
“Polling has been peaceful with no reports of any violence,” said Madurai collector U Sagayam, against whom a public interest litigation (PIL) was filed in the Madras high court for his removal.
The PIL was dismissed by the high court.
Tamil Nadu chief electoral officer Praveen Kumar described the process as “good percentage” and said it denoted brisk polling and more important it has been peaceful so far.
In some districts, the turn out exceeded 30% by noon and this is a good trend, Kumar said.
There have been some reports of name deletions in some constituencies, he admitted but on the whole, the polling was going on smoothly.
Voters had begun queuing up from 7.30am in different constituencies so that they could finish voting before heat became oppressive during the course of the day.
AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa was among the first voters at the Stella Maris College polling booth that serves the posh Poes Gardens colony of central Chennai.
After coming out of the booth, a smiling and confident Jayalalithaa predicted a facile victory for her alliance as people was wanting a change for the better.
She told journalists that her party led alliance would win a landslide victory and a clear majority. Her party is contesting 160 seats and the second largest group in her alliance is DMDK of Vijayakanth with 41 seats.
Corruption was one of the prime reasons for people to throw out the DMK, she said, adding corruption had always been there but not on this scale.
And it was not limited to 2G spectrum scam as locally there have been a series of scams in granite quarrying, sand mining and others, she added.
She also alleged that DMK had spent huge sums of money to bribe the voters.
“But people are determined to throw the government out,” she said.
Another early voter was deputy chief minister MK Stalin and his wife Durgavathi at Gopalapuram, also in central Chennai.
Stalin was equally confident that DMK led alliance would form the government as it was winning more than 200 seats.
Chief minister M Karunanidhi, who is contesting from Tiruvarur near Tanjavur told the media that the chances of the DMK were as bright as the rising sun, the symbol of his party.
Since the DMK is contesting only 119 seats, it will be a coalition government, which Karunanidhi did not rule out.
“It will be DMK led government. It could be a single party or a coalition,” he told reporters after excercising his franchise in Gopalapuram.
His daughter and Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi said that people’s vote was for the welfare measures initiated by the DMK government.
“They (people) are aware that the schemes would be abolished if any other front came to power”.