Chennai, Apr 22 UNI | 3 months ago

The hustle and bustle of campaigning for the April 24 Lok Sabha elections to 39 seats in Tamil Nadu ended at 1800 hrs this evening.

In all, 845 candidates were in the fray that included 55 women and a transgender, who is testing her electoral fortunes from the Madurai Lok Sabha seat.

This is the highest ever field in the annals of state's electoral politics, when compared to 823 during the 2009 LS polls.

The by-elections to Alandur Assembly seat, which was necessitated following the resignation of DMDK Deputy Leader of the Opposition Panruti S Ramachandran, who later joined the AIADMK, would also be held on April 24.

The state has a total electorate of 5,50,42,876, of which 2,75,21,162 were women and 3,341 others.

Prominent leaders in the fray include sitting MP M

Thambidurai (Karur) and A Anwar Raja (Ramanathapuram) of AIADMK, 2G scam accused and former Union Ministers of DMK Dayanidhi Maran (Chennai Central) A Raja (Nilgiris) and T R Baalu (Thanjavur) and BJP's L Ganesan (Chennai South) and Pon Radhakrishnan (Kanniyakumari).

VCK leader Thol Thirumavalavan is seeking a second term from Chidambaram constituency.

Congress' Mani Shankar Aiyar, EVKS Elangovan, Karti Chidambaram, son of Union Minister P Chidambaram, N S V Chitthan and Su. Thirunavukkarasar are contesting from Mayiladuthurai, Tiruppur, Sivaganga, Dindigul and Ramanathapuram, respectively.

From the Left, G Palanisamy of the CPI (Nagapattinam), CPI-M's U Vasuki (Chennai North), former MP V Bellaramin (Kanniyakumari), MDMK's Vaiko and A Ganesamurthy are contesting from Virdhunagar and Erode, PMK's Anbumani Ramadoss, former Union Minister, and PMK Chief G K Mani from Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri, DMDK Founder and actor Vijayakanth's brother-in-law L K Sudheesh (Salem) and Anti-nuclear activist and PMANE Leader S P Udayakumar (Kanniyakumari) and PMANE Convenor Pushparayan (Tuticorin) of the AAP are also in the fray.

For the first time in state's history, there will be a multi-cornered contest in all constituencies, making it a nightmare for psephologists.

While AIADMK, whose Supremo J Jayalalithaa was nurturing national ambitions, Congress and Left have decided to go alone, DMK has VCK and some minor parties as its allies.

The BJP-led NDA has stitched together a rainbow alliance that includes DMDK, MDMK, PMK, Kongu Party and the IJK.

The fledgling Aam Aadmi Party is also in the fray but it is unlikely to create any ripples, but expected to make its presence felt in the coastal Kanniyaumari, Tuticorin and Tirunelveli constituencies, due to the anti-nuclear stir by PMANE.

In all, the Election Commission has set up 60,816 polling booths, of which 9,226 were classified as sensitive and 1,337 hyper sensitive. A total of 17 booths have less than 100 voters.

As far as Chennai City is concerned, a total number of 6663 polling booths were set up.

Out of this, 455 have been identified as sensitive and 125 as hyper-sensitive.

These booths would be brought under extra surveillance and more number of security personnel would be deployed.

Apart from the entire police force, several companies of para military forces have also been deployed on poll duty across the state.

(Posted on 22-04-2014)