Assembly elections: 69.95% polling in Kerala, 64.92% in TN, 77.90% in Puducherry
New Delhi, April 6, 2021
At least 69.95% of the electorate exercised their franchise in Kerala, 64.92% in Tamil Nadu and 77.90% in Puducherry in the single phase polls held today to choose their new legislative assemblies.
Polling was also held for the third and final phase of the assembly polls in Assam and the third of eight phases of voting in West Bengal, with 78.94% and 77.68% of the electorate casting their votes in the two States, respectively.
The polling percentages were for votes cast up to 5 pm in the five States and the final voting figures are expected to be significantly higher once information from all the polling stations are received in the respective state capitals.
The Election Commission of India (ECI) said in Delhi that the polling was by and large peaceful with no major untoward incident anywhere.
Polling was held today for all the 234 seats in the Tamil Nadu assembly, all 140 seats in the Kerala assembly and 30 seats in Puducherry, which is a Union Territory with a legislature. Polling began at 7 am in all three places and ended at 7 pm.
Voting was also held today in the bye-election for the Kanniyakumari Lok Sabha seat in Tamil Nadu.
Polling ended at 6 pm in Assam, where polling was held for 40 seats, and 6.30 pm in West Bengal, where 31 constituencies went to the polls.
In Tamil Nadu, there were a total of 3,998 candidates in the fray, including 411 women, and 6.26 crore voters were eligible to exercise their franchise in today's elections, in which the main contest was between the ruling AIADMK-led alliance and the opposition DMK-led front, which also includes the Congress.
About 1.58 lakh security personnel were deployed for security across the State.
The others in the fray are actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan's Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) alliance, Vijayakant-promoted DMDK, the alliance led by Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) floated by T. T. V.Dhinakaran and movie director Seeman's Naam Tamilar Katchi (NTK).
The AIADMK-led alliance, headed by Chief Minister K Palaniswami, is seeking a third term in office while the DMK, led by its president M K Stalin, is trying to regain power after a decade in the wilderness.
The AIADMK had put up its candidates for 179 seats. Among its allies, the BJP contested 20 seats, the PMK 23, and the TMC six. Six small parties contested one seat each on the AIADMK's Two Leaves symbol.
On the other hand, the DMK put up its candidates for 173 seats. Among its allies, the Congress fielded 25 candidates, the CPI, the CPIM, the MDMK and VCK six each, the IUML and KMDK three each, the MMK two, and the All India Forward Bloc, Makkal Viduthalai Katchi, Athi Thamizhar Peravai and Tamizhaga Vazhuvurimai Katchi one each.
A total of 187 candidates -- DMK's own and some from its allies -- are contesting under the DMK's Rising Sun symbol.
The MNM is allied with actor Sarathkumar's AISMK and IJK while Dhinakaran's AMMK has allied with the DMDK, AIMIM and others.
The Seeman-led NTK went it alone, contesting in all the 234 constituencies.
The other parties in the fray on their own were the Bahujan Samaj Party (160 seats), Puthiya Tamizhagam (60 seats) and Republican Party of India (16 seats).
Notable candidates in the polls and the constituencies are: Palaniswami, Deputy Chief Minister O.Panneerselvam (Bodinayakkanur), Stalin (Kolathur), his son Udhayanidhi Stalin (Chepauk-Tiruvallikeni), DMDK Treasurer and Vijayakant's wife Premalatha (Vridhachalam) MNM founder Kamal Haasan (Coimbatore South), TN BJP President L. Murugan (Dharapuram), actor Khushbu Sundar (Thousand Lights), TN BJP Vice President K.Annamalai, PMK's G.K.Mani (Pennagaram) and Seeman (Tiruvottriyur).
In the bye-election for the Kanniyakumari Lok Sabha seat, the main fight was between former Union Minister and BJP's Pon Radhakrishnan and Congress party's Vijay Vasanth, though there are a dozen candidates.
The bye-election was necessitated by the death of Congress MP H. Vasanthakumar, the father of the current Congress candidate.
In neighbouring Puducherry, having just 10.04 lakh voters, the fight for the 30-member Assembly was majorly between the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), consisting of Congress (contesting in 14 seats), DMK (13), CPI, VCK (one seat each) and an Independent, and the rival National Democratic Alliance (NDA), comprising All India N.R. Congress (16 seats), BJP (9) and AIADMK (5).
There were 324 candidates, including 35 women, in the fray in the 30 constituencies.
In Kerala, the fate of 957 candidates was decided by an electorate consisting of 1,41,62,025 women, 1,32,83,724 men and 290 transgender voters. As many as 40,771 polling booths had been set up across the state for today's polls.
The principal political fronts contesting the elections are the ruling CPIM-led Left Democratic Front (LDF), which is hoping to make history in the State by being returned for a second successive term in office, the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) and the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
In the last elections in 2016, the LDF had won 91 seats, the UDF 47 and the NDA one. One independent candidate had also been elected.
As many as 59,292 Kerala police personnel and 140 companies of the CISF, CRPF and BSF were deployed across the State to ensure a free and fair poll.
In Assam, the third and final phase of polling was held amidst tight security for the remaining 40 seats in the 126-member assembly.
These 40 constituencies have 79,19,641 voters including 39,07,963 women. As many as 9,587 polling stations were set up in 6,107 locations for today's poll.
Around 32,000 Central Armed Police Forces, along with thousands of state security force personnel, were deployed in these 40 constituencies.
Prominent candidates in today's polls included the ruling BJP's pointsman and Finance, Health, Education and PWD Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and the ruling party's state president Ranjeet Kumar Dass.
Sarma, convener of the BJP backed anti-Congress body -- North East Democratic Alliance, contested the elections from the Jalukbari seat from where he has consecutively won since 2001 while Dass contested from Patacharkuchi seat. In the last elections in 2016, he was elected to the Assembly from the Sorbhog constituency.
In West Bengal, polling was held today for 31 of the 294 seats in the State Assembly.
The 31 seats -- including 16 in South 24 Parganas, eight in Howrah and seven in Hooghly -- are crucial both for the ruling Trinamool Congress, led by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The total number of electors in these constituencies was 78,56,474, including 39,97,218 men and 38,59,013 women.
As many as 205 candidates, including 13 women, were in the fray for these 31 seats.