Voting is underway for assembly elections in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry amid tight security. Voting began at 7 am and will conclude at 6 pm.
In Tamil Nadu, voting is being held today for 232 seats of the 234-member Assembly as polling in Aravakurichi and Thanjavur Assembly seats has been deferred. The Election Commission deferred polling in the two constituencies on the basis of Observer’s reports which suggest that money was offered by candidates to lure voters. The two assembly segments would go to polls on May 23. The voting is on in 65,486 booths as against the planned 66,007 booths due to deferment of polls in two seats. The number of candidates has also come down from 3776 to 3728.
In Kerala, voting is being held for 140 assembly seats. Elaborate security arrangements have been made on 21,646 polling booths to ensure free and fair poll. A total of 1,203 candidates including 109 women are in the fray. The State will have a triangular electoral battle, for the first time. The BJP has fielded the maximum number of 98 candidates followed by the Congress 87 and the CPI(M) 85.
In Puducherry, people were coming out in large numbers to cast their votes since 7 am. In response to the Met Department prediction of first summer showers in Puducherry, the Election Commission has raised pavilions in front of polling stations to provide protection from elements for voters. 14% polling is reported till now 9.30 am. Karaikal too is experiencing thunder showers hence polling has slowed down in the enclave. 344 candidates are contesting for the 30- member Assembly. Voting is underway at 930 polling stations spread over four regions of the Union Territory. Over 9 lakh voters will exercise their franchise today. Congress is fighting the elections in alliance with DMK while left parties have joined hands with VCK, DMDK and MDMK under the umbrella of People’s Welfare Front.
Counting of votes for Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Kerala, West Bengal and Assam Assembly elections will be held on the 19th of this month. The counting of votes in Aravakurichi and Thanjavur Assembly seats of Tamil Nadu will take place on May 25.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged all the voters in states going to polls today to vote in record numbers. In a tweet, Mr Modi asked them to be a part of the festival of democracy.