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Saturday, April 10, 2021

Tamil Nadu Elections 2021: Here’s the complete guidebook you were looking for

The campaign for the high-octane assembly election concluded on April 5 at 7 pm. Leaders from both the ruling and the opposition parties had been sweating out in the hot sun for the past few weeks to woo the voters.

Written by Janardhan Koushik | Chennai |
Updated: April 5, 2021 6:28:39 pm
Tamil Nadu Assembly Elections 2021Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edapaddi K Palaniswami (L), DMK chief M K Stalin. (File Photo)

The 16th Tamil Nadu legislative assembly election will be held in a single phase on April 6 (Tuesday) and the counting will take place on May 2 (Sunday). The polling will begin at 7 am and end at 7 pm. By-election to Kanyakumari Lok Sabha constituency will be held on the same day. The constituency fell vacant following the demise of Congress MP H Vasanthakumar.

The campaign for the high-octane assembly election concluded on April 5 at 7 pm. Leaders from both the ruling and the opposition parties had been sweating out in the hot sun for the past few weeks to woo the voters. National leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi toured the state a couple of times to campaign for their party and alliance candidates.

There are five main players who are contesting this election in Tamil Nadu.

The governing All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and their alliance including Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC), etc.

Opposition party Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and their alliance including Congress, Communist parties (CPI, CPM), Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK), Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK), etc.

TTV Dhinakaran-led Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam including Desiya Murpoku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK), Social Democratic Party of India (SPDI), etc.

Actor Kamal Haasan’s Makkal Needhi Maiam including Indhiya Jananayaga Katchi (IJK), All India Samathuva Makkal Katchi (AISMK) and Seeman’s Naam Tamizhar Katchi.

There are 6,28,69,955 crore eligible voters in Tamil Nadu. The list includes 3,19,39,112 crore women voters, 3,09,23,651 crore men and 7,192 persons from the third gender.

There are 88,937 polling stations in Tamil Nadu. The poll will see a total of 3,998 candidates contesting for the 234 assembly constituencies. In Karur, 77 candidates are contesting, the highest among all constituencies. In Bhavanisagar and Valparai only six candidates are contesting.

Shollingannalur assembly constituency in Chengalpattu district has the highest number of voters while Harbour assembly constituency in Chennai has the lowest.

Health Secretary Radhakrishnan Monday said the voters will not be allowed into polling stations without wearing masks. They also have been instructed to main social distancing. Polling staff and security officials have also been instructed to follow safety measures to prevent the spread of the pandemic virus. Every polling booth will have a sanitizer and all voters will be scanned with an infrared thermometer.

Addressing the media on Monday, Chief Electoral officer Satyabrata Sahoo said elaborate security arrangements have been made in Tamil Nadu.

“As many as 1,58,263 police and non-police forces would be deployed for the election. This includes 23,200 personnel from the Central Armed Police Force, 16,350 Home guards and ex-servicemen from other states, 12,411 Home Guards from Tamil Nadu, and state police 74,162. About 50 percent of the total polling stations in the state will be covered under webcasting. In Tamil Nadu, 537 polling stations have been identified as critical and 10,813 as vulnerable,” he said.

He said even without a booth slip, if the voter is having his/her name listed in the voter’s list, they can cast their votes. The Election Commission has joined hands with Uber to transport voters above 80 years and persons with disabilities to the polling booths. The service is available in Chennai, Coimbatore, and Tiruchirapalli. The ride to be given to and from home and polling booth with a maximum distance of five kilometers. People need to pre-book on the Uber application to avail the service.

The city police commissioner Mahesh Kumar Aggarwal said three-tier bandobust arrangement at all polling centres. He added that no representatives of the political parties would be allowed to canvass and no vehicle would be permitted within 100 meters of the polling booth. Mobile phones are also strictly prohibited inside the polling booth.

As per the release from the Election Commission, cash and kind together valued at rupees 428.46 crore have been seized so far. The seizure includes rupees 225.5 crore in cash, precious metal (Gold, Silver, Diamonds and other ornaments) worth rupees 176.11 crore, liquor worth rupees 4.61 crore and other items worth rupees 20.01 crore.

District contact centres have been established in the state. The centres have been provided with the toll-free helpline number 1950 uniformly across the state. A dedicated election cell is functioning at the Commissioner’s office in Vepery, any election-related complaints in the city can be raised by dialing 044-23452437.

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