By-election: Polling for 4 Assembly seats on amid tight security

Chennai: Polling in the by-elections to key four Assembly constituencies in the State began this morning amidst tight security. Also repolling is on in 13 booths in Dharmapuri, Erode, Tiruvallur, Cuddalore Lok Sabha seats as part of the last phase of the Lok Sabha elections.

By-poll for Aravakurichi, Ottapidaram (R), Sulur and Tirupparankundram seats saw people throng booths in large numbers early in the morning.

A total of 137 candidates are in fray for the four seats, including 63 in Aravakurichi, 37 in Tirupparankundram, 22 in Sulur and 15 in Ottapidaram. Counting of votes would be taken up on May 23.

More than 15,000 security personnel, including 1,300 paramilitary forces, 2,000 home guards, over 10,000 State police personnel and over 2,500 special police personnel have been drafted for poll. The contest is between the ruling AIADMK and the Opposition DMK.

There is AMMK led by TTV Dhinakaran and Makkal Needhi Maiyam of actor-turned politician Kamal Haasan also in the fray. Prominent candidates in the fray were former Minister Pongalur N Palanisamy of DMK in Sulur and former Minister Senthil Balaji in Aravakurichi, who quit the AMMK and joined the DMK recently. Dr P Saravanan is contesting for DMK in Tirupparankundram.M C Shanmugaiya is contesting in Ottapidaram (R).

The AIADMK has fielded V P Kandasamy, president of Coimbatore rural district Puratchi Thalaivi Amma Peravai in Sulur, Karur district Ilaignar Pasarai and Ilan Pengal Paasarai secretary V V Senthil Nathan in Aravakkurichi, Avaniyapuram secretary S Muniyandi at Tirupparankundram and former MLA P Mohan, who is the joint secretary of Thoothukudi north district AIADMK, in Ottapidaram. In all there were 22 vacant Assembly seats out of which bypoll for 18 seats were held along with Lok Sabha polls on 18 April.

War of words
At a polling booth near Velayuthapalayam in Aravakrurichi, tension prevailed this morning following war of words between AIADMK and DMK cadres. After polling began this morning, workers from both parties gathered near the booth. There was chaos and confusion at the place following which senior police officials urged them to disperse. This resulted in war of words. The DMK workers even accused Election Commission of acting in a partisan manner.


Mild lathicharge
At a polling booth in Ward 174 (Aravakurichi), police resorted to mild lathicharge as people assembled in large number in from of the polling booth. Two women sustained injuries and were rushed to nearby government hospital.


‘Gift box’ missing
Polling began little late at a booth in Panruti in Cuddalore district where repolling for Lok Sabha election was ordered. Minutes before voting began, it was found out that AMMK’s candidate name and his ‘gift box’ symbol was missing from the EVMs at the booth. Immediately the officials rectified the mistake.

NT Bureau