Tamil Nadu Assembly elections: CM Jayalalithaa asks voters to step out, Thanjavur polls deferred after seizure of cash

The DMK, on the other hand, is hoping to make a comeback, counting on anti-incumbency and the promise of prohibition.

Written by Arun Janardhanan | Chennai | Updated: May 16, 2016 9:00 am
tamil nadu polls, tamil nadu elections, tamil nadu, Thanjavur, jayalaithaa, karunanidhi, Thanjavur polls delayed, tamil nadu cash seized, tamil nadu polls aiadmk, tamil nadu polls dmk, election commission tamil nadu acsh, tamil nadu poll cash, tamil nadu news, india news, tamil nadu elections news, tamil nadu news, latest news The Election Commission ordered polling for Thanjavur to be held on May 23, a move which came a day after it took a similar decision for Aravakurichi. (Source: PTI)

As the ruling AIADMK and main rival DMK braced for polling Monday, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, seeking another term in office, appealed to voters Sunday to turn out in strength to exercise their franchise and “reject those who challenge the values of democracy… who spoil the truth for temporary gains and vested interests”.

An estimated 5.82 crore voters will decide the fate of 3,776 candidates in 234 constituencies across the state. But voting in two constituencies has been deferred following large-scale distribution of money among voters. On Sunday night, the Election Commission ordered polling for Thanjavur to be held on May 23, a move which came a day after it took a similar decision for Aravakurichi.

The poll panel said the Thanjavur election was being postponed to May 23 so that “the vitiating effect of the money power created by the distribution of money and gift items to the electors of the constituency loses its intensity and a more congenial atmosphere conducive to the conduct of free and fair election is created”. Counting of votes will take place there on May 25 and not May 19 as scheduled earlier.

Jayalalithaa, whose election campaign speeches focused on social welfare schemes in the last five years, did not stir out of her residence over the weekend but, in a three-page letter to her party cadres, reminded them of DMK’s “dynasty politics” and “massive corruption” during its rule earlier.

“Casting votes in a democratic process is also a responsibility. Taking part in the election process means we are protecting democracy and its values for ourselves and our future generations,” she said in her statement. Without naming anybody, she said there was an “evil force which even pawns its children for selfish reasons and scripts things according to situation for its win” which the people were keenly watching.

The AIADMK has promised, among other welfare measures, 100 units of free power to a household every two months, 50 per cent subsidy for purchase of a scooter by a woman, a free laptop scheme for school students with free Internet connection, an Amma banking card for all government schemes and services, a sovereign gold for a woman ahead of her marriage, free mobile phones to all ration card holders, maternity assistance of Rs 18,000 and increase in maternity leave from six to nine months.

The DMK, on the other hand, is hoping to make a comeback, counting on anti-incumbency and the promise of prohibition.

In an interview to The Indian Express as the campaign wound up, DMK chief M Karunanidhi said his party’s prospects had brightened in the last phase of the campaign. He claimed that a majority of male voters supported the idea of prohibition in Tamil Nadu and, therefore, also his party.

In a statement, Karunanidhi too reminded voters of their “duty of safeguarding democracy and people”. He sought the cooperation of all to ensure peaceful polling through “duty, discipline and dignity”.

The battlelines drawn, top leaders like Jayalalithaa, Karunanidhi and his son M K Stalin should sail through but the contest is not going to be easy for most including Captain Vijayakanth of DMDK, Anbumani Ramadoss of PMK, Thol Thirumavalavan of VCK, several ministers of AIADMK and former DMK ministers and party veterans.

The feedback from some constituencies suggest that the Vijayakanth-led Third Front may play spoilsport where DMK and AIADMK candidates hope to do well. The BJP hopes to corner a decent voteshare in the state to improve prospects for upcoming local body polls.

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  1. K
    Kumar
    May 16, 2016 at 2:35 am
    When Karunanidhi says his son Stalin will be the Chief Minister after him what democracy he is talking about?
    Reply
    1. J
      Jigsaw Kemerton
      May 16, 2016 at 4:10 am
      Hope the elephantine bimbo, brainless bedfellow of Sasikala, thieving corrupt ignoramus, Jayalalithaa is thrashed and consigned to ashes for good.
      Reply
      1. M
        M Venkata
        May 16, 2016 at 3:25 pm
        It is good in reporting.
        Reply
        1. R
          Raja T
          May 16, 2016 at 2:07 pm
          Not every office will be closed.
          Reply
          1. R
            Raja T
            May 16, 2016 at 9:07 am
            Election should be conducted on a holiday (sunday). Then only everyone can vote. If they keep on a Weekday, there are lot of obstacles which prevents ried cl from voting.lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;In Future, if election is planned on a sunday, they can see a real difference in vote percentage.
            Reply
            1. N
              Niladrinath Mohanty
              May 16, 2016 at 1:46 am
              The Election Commission should take steps to prevent this freebie politics particularly of the two main Dravidian parties. Shifting the date of poll of one or two consuencies is not going to change the situation. On the other hand poll should be canceled for one year in such consuency with all the candidates barred from the contest. Then only some message may reach the political parties indulging in corrupt practice.
              Reply
              1. N
                Niranjan Subramanian
                May 16, 2016 at 4:22 am
                it is wise to put such rough states in president rule for 6 months before scheduled election
                Reply
                1. V
                  Vaidhyanathan Sankar
                  May 16, 2016 at 5:04 am
                  Election commission is unable to ensure free and fair poll in the state..Dravidan parties vying with each other to bribe the voter.An imprssion had already been created that neither the EC nor the officials are impartial all fairness poll throughout the state shoud be countermanded and the state to be brougt under president rule till conditions improve.
                  Reply
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