70 percent polling in Tamil Nadu
Up to 70 percent electors voted Thursday in Tamil Nadu's 39 Lok Sabha constituencies with the election coming to an end at 6 p.m., said the Election Commission.
According to election officials, voters already in the queue would be allowed to vote while nobody will be allowed to join the line new.
The polling percentage in the state stood at 70 percent out of over 55 million voters at 5 p.m. The poll officials said the final voting percentage would be known latter.
There are 845 contestants belonging to political parties and independents in the fray.
Polling started at 7 a.m. with leaders of various political parties, movie actors and people from various walks of life exercised their ballot power.
Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa, DMK chief M. Karunanidhi, A. Vijayakant of DMDK, Vaiko of MDMK and leaders of other political parties voted.
Tamil movie actor Rajinikanth was one of the early voters. Other actors like Kamal Haasan, Ajith and his wife Shalini, Senthil and Vijay also exercised their franchise.
AIADMK general secretary Jayalalithaa told reporters after voting: "I request all the political parties and public to cooperate with the Election Commission to ensure peaceful and fair voting."
Asked about the action taken by the Election Commission on the complaints made by the DMK against rival AIADMK, Karunanidhi told reporters: "No action seems to have been taken."
The DMK Wednesday complained to the poll panel about the AIADMK distributing Rs.3,000 in cash for every vote and urged the panel to take action to curb the malpractice.
The party also complained that police were supporting the AIADMK in the distribution of cash to voters.
Karunanidhi hoped his party would win more seats this time than the 18 of the total 39 in 2009.
Of the electorate, 27 million are women and nearly 13 percent are in the age group of 18 to 25 years.
As many as 845 candidates are in the fray for the 39 Lok Sabha seats while 14 have thrown their hats in the by-poll for the Alandur assembly seat.
Voting in Tamil Nadu is being held in a single phase at over 60,000 polling stations, of which 9,226 have been identified as sensitive.
About 150,000 security personnel have been deployed in the state.
Many voters headed for the polling stations right after their morning walk.
"The polling process is smooth. The voters' queues moved briskly," V. Nitya, a voter in South Chennai constituency told IANS.
At several polling stations, electronic voting machines did not function initially, delaying the balloting.
(Posted on 24-04-2014)
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