TN all set for Vellore LS polls tomorrow; tight security in 1,400 booths

Chennai: An estimated 18.85 lakh voters, including 9.58 lakh women, were expected to exercise their franchise as the stage is set for polling in the Vellore Lok Sabha constituency tomorrow.

Polling would begin at 700 am and elaborate security arrangements have been made to ensure a free and fair polling. Elections would be held to decide the fate of 28 candidates, including three women, with a majority of them being Independents. The Lok Sabha seat consists of six Assembly segments that included Vellore, Anaikattu, Kilvaithinankuppam, Gudiyattam, Vaniyambadi and Ambur and polling would be held in more than 1,400 booths.

The hustle and bustle of the high voltage campaign for the polls came to an end at 6 pm last evening, with the leaders of the ruling AIADMK and the Opposition DMK making a last ditch effort to woo the electorates.

The elections were earlier scheduled for 18 April, but was rescinded following seizure of cash from the premises of DMK candidate Kathir Anand, who is also the son of DMK Treasurer and former Minister Duraimurugan.

The DMK has re-nominated Kathir as its candidate, while the AIADMK too has renominated NJP Founder A C Shanmugham for the seat. The elections will witness a three-cornered contest, though the main fight will be between the AIADMK and the DMK. The third nominee in fray is Deepalakshmi of Naam Tamizhar Katch of actor-director Seeman.

Counting of votes would be taken up on 9 August. For the AIADMK Co-cordinator and Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, Coordinator and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and state Ministers campaigned for Shanmugam, while DMK president M K Stalin led the campaign for Kathir Anand along with his son and DMK Youth Wing leader Udhayanidhi and others.

Though both the AIADMK and the DMK forged mega alliances for the recent Lok Sabha polls, none of the alliance party leaders, including the BJP, DMDK, PMK, TMC and PT campaigned for the AIADMK, while top alliance party leaders from MDMK, CPI, CPI(M) and Congress canvassed votes for DMK by addressing a joint election meeting as the campaign drew to a close. Actor Kamal Haasan’s Makkal Needhi Maiyam is not contesting the polls.

The DMK-led Front swept the lok Sabha polls winning 37 of the 38 seats and 13 of the 22 Assembly seats, while the AIADMK won one LS seat and nine Assembly seats, that ensured its stability. The Election Commission had announced that EVMs and VVPATs will be used in the election in all the polling stations. Adequate numbers of EVMs and VVPATs have been made available and all steps have been taken to ensure that the polls were conducted smoothly with the help of these machines.