2019 by-polls: Campaign in four assembly constituencies ends

Chennai: The by elections for the four assembly constituencies in Tamilnadu is all set to take place tomorrow and the campaign for the same ended yesterday evening.

Heavy police security cover with about 16,000 personnel will be deployed for the elections at Sulur, Aravakurichi, Ottapidaram and Thiruparankundram.

On 18 April, along with the 38 Lok Sabha segments, the by-polls to 18 seats were also held.

Various political parties, especially AIADMK and DMK, have been indulging in hectic campaign across these four constituencies. Arch rivals  have left no stone unturned to ensure victory.

Besides these two major parties, T T V Dhinakaran-led AMMK, Kamal Haasan’s Makkal Needhi Maiam and actor-director Seeman’s Naam Tamizhar Katchi have fielded their party candidates.

MNM chief Kamal stoked a major controversy with his “free India’s first extremist was Godse and that he was a Hindu” statement. He drew nation-wide condemnation from BJP and the AIADMK.

In the 234-member Tamilnadu assembly with 22 vacancies, the AIADMK has a strength of 113, excluding the Speaker. The simple majority mark in the full House is 117.

The principal opposition DMK, along with its allies, including Congress, has 97 MLAs. Its partner IUML has one legislator. Incidentally, two MLAs of AIADMK’s alliance parties, designated as its members in the assembly records since they contested on its symbol, have shown a strained relationship with the ruling party.

Legislator S Karunaas, leader of Mukkulathor Puli Padai, has been anti-government for some time, while Manithaneya Jananayaga Katchi MLA M Thamimun Ansari, a strident BJP critic, backed the DMK-led alliance in the Lok Sabha polls after the AIADMK struck a poll pact with the saffron party.

In a recent development, the State assembly Speaker P Dhanapal issued notice to three AIADMK MLAs for allegedly supporting AMMK founder TTV Dhinakaran.

Palaniswami assured that the AIADMK-led government’s performance will help the ruling party secure a comfortable win in this elections.

Satyabrata Sahoo, Tamilnadu Chief Electoral Officer, yesterday informed 137 candidates are in the fray in the four Assembly segments, with Aravakurichi topping at 63 MLA aspirants.

A total of 15,939 police personnel will be on duty to avert any problems and about 5,508 polling personnel will be on duty, Sahoo said.

Since the model code of conduct came into effect on March 10, a total cash Rs 156 crore had been seized by EC teams, he said. According to him, the Income Tax department had recovered Rs 79.75 crore, he added. Of the Rs 156 crore, Rs 114.5 crore has been returned to the owners. while the balance amount of Rs 42.36 crore is still under investigation.

NT Bureau