2019 polls: TN leaders busy with last minute electioneering

Chennai: As the deadline for the election campaign approached, leaders of various political parties and the candidates made a last ditch effort to woo the voters. The hustle and bustle of the high voltage campaign for the 18 April Lok Sabha elections and Assembly by-polls would come to an end at 6 pm today.

Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami campaigned at Salem today and sought votes for the party candidate Saravanan. Palaniswami walked the streets around Pettaiamman Kovil and sought votes. He also issued the party pamphlets to the voters.

Meanwhile, DMK president M K Stalin campaigned in Tiruvarur. Addressing a gathering there, he said, “former Chief Minister M Karunanidhi was not given six feet land by this government and how can people give space to them (AIADMK alliance) in Tamilnadu?”

Makkal Needhi Maiam founder Kamal Haasan camped at Namakkal and Karur and asked people to vote without fail.
Polling would be held in the State 18 April for 39 Lok Sabha seats and 18 Assembly constituencies.

The single phase elections would witness a four-cornered contest between the ruling AIADMK-led front, that comprises BJP, PMK, DMDK, Puthiya Tamilagam, Tamil Maanila Congress and New Justice Party, the Opposition DMK-led Secular Progressive Alliance (SPA) that included Congress, MDMk, CPI, CPI(M), IUML, VCK, KMDK and IJK, the AMMK founded by sidelined AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran and the nascent Makkal Neethi Maiam (MNM) of actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan.

The AMMK and MNM were facing elections for the first time, though the main fight is expected to be between the two Dravidian majors AIADMK and the DMK, who were contesting 20 Lok Sabha seats each, while allotting the remaining seats to their allies.

Both the AIADMK and the DMK would be facing the elections for the first time without their stalwarts J Jayalalithaa and M Karunanidhi, who died in December 2016 and August 2018, respectively. The elections would be an acid test for the AIADMK, which had witnessed split and merger post-Jayalalithaa’s death, headed by Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, and for Stalin, who would be leading the DMK for the first time after becoming its President.

The elections witnessed a high-voltage campaign with both the AIADMK and DMK accusing each other on various issues. National leaders of both the BJP and the Congress, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP National President Amit Shah, Union Ministers, Congress president Rahul Gandhi campaigned for their respective fronts, criss-crossing the State.

4,466 cases filed in TN
Chief Electoral Officer Satyabrata Sahoo said all arrangements have been made to hold the polls 18 April. “There are 4,466 cases filed in the State for the violation of Model Code of Conduct,” he added.

NT Bureau