Chennai: Moderate to brisk polling was reported across the State, as people queued up in large numbers to exercise their democratic right.
About 65 per cent of the total 5.84 crore electorate had exercised their franchise till this evening as the single phase polling for 38 Lok Sabha constituencies and by-election to 18 Assembly seats began in Tamilnadu at 7 am today.
Even before polling commenced, long queues were seen in a majority of the booths, as voters, especially senior citizens, lined up to exercise their democratic right.
Since, several districts of the State has been reeling under scorching heat, people chose to cast their vote early to avoid standing in queues in the heat. Though there were no reports of any untoward incidents anywhere in the State so far, technical glitches delaying the start of polling were reported in booths across Tamilnadu.
Also, EVM malfunctioning was reported in a number of locations and these were rectified.
Speaking to mediapersons in Chennai, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Satyabrata Sahoo said 30.62 per cent of polling was recorded till 11 am. Asked about the delay in polling process due to technical glitches in several booths, he said the problems were being attended to immediately.
“About 305 EVMs and 525 VVPAT machines have been replaced. Polling is going on peacefully,” he added.
About voters not having booth slips to cast their vote, Sahoo said, “Even if they did not have booth slips, they could vote by showing any one of the identity documents specified by the EC, if their name is there in the voters list. To know more details, they can call toll-free number 1950.”
Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and DMK chief M K Stalin were among the early voters.
Palaniswami and Stalin waited in queue at Edappadi in Salem district and Chennai, respectively, and cast their votes.
Talking to reporters after casting his vote, Stalin said, “I hope people are not influenced by money being distributed by some parties. This election will create a new trend. People of Tamilnadu have vowed to defeat the governments at the Centre and in Tamilnadu and distribution of Rs 1,000, Rs 2,000, Rs 5,000 and even Rs 10,000 more will not influence them,” he added.
“Even if the ruling party spends several crores of rupees, they will not succeed in their attempt,” Stalin said.
Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan, after casting his vote at Kanyakumari, said, This is a massive democratic festival which will decide the fate of India. I have exercised my franchise. A silent revolution is happening.”
While senior Congress leader P Chidambaram voted at Kandanur in Sivaganga district, AMMK leader T T V Dhinakaran exercised his franchise along with his family.
Actors Rajinikanth, Vijay, Ajith Kumar, Trisha voted in Chennai.
BJP’s Tamilnadu unit chief Tamilisai Soundararjan and Makkal Needhi Maiam president Kamal Haasan also cast their votes.
DMDK chief Vijayakanth, his wife and party treasurer Premalatha and Pattali Makkal Katchi chief Ramadoss voted in Chennai and Tindivanam respectively.
A large number of fans thronged the Tiruvanmiyur booth where Ajith cast his vote.
Vijay stood in queue for half-an-hour and exercised his franchise.
Photos: K Vijay Anand and R Thiyagarajan