Tamil Nadu

Campaign ends in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry

Campaigning for the first Assembly election to be held after the Karunanidhi-Jayalalithaa era in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry ended at 7 p.m. on Sunday, with leaders of political parties making last-minute appeals for public support in their respective hometowns and constituencies. What was unusual this time was that electioneering began several months before the polls were notified in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Polling for 234 constituencies in Tamil Nadu, 30 seats in Puducherry and the Kanniyakumari Lok Sabha seat will begin at 7 a.m. on April 6. While the AIADMK, under the joint leadership of Edappadi K. Palaniswami and O. Panneerselvam, is seeking a third consecutive term in office, the DMK, under M.K. Stalin, is making a pitch to see him take the Chief Minister’s chair for the first time. The Dravidian majors have formed alliances comprising national and regional parties. Kamal Haasan’s Makkal Needhi Maiam, which has teamed up with smaller allies; Seeman’s Naam Tamilar Katchi, which has fielded an equal number of women and men; and T.T.V. Dhinakaran’s AMMK, which has an alliance with the DMDK and others, are seeking to prove their strength.

The campaign between the AIADMK and DMK had turned high-pitched with personal attacks. While the AIADMK-BJP sought to project the DMK as a threat to law and order and women; the latter and its allies, projected the AIADMK as an extension of the BJP asking the electorate to be wary of communally divisive politics gaining roots in Tamil Nadu.

The run-up to the polls also saw the Income Tax Department conducted searches in the premises of Mr Stalin’s daughter, former ministers and others. Besides, DMK deputy general secretary A Raja was banned from campaigning for 48 hours for making certain remarks against the CM.

The Election Commission of India has consolidated its efforts to curb the menace of distribution of money to voters, a notorious feature that prevails across Tamil Nadu during every election.

Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) units have been kept ready and would be moved to the respective booths latest by Monday evening.

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Printable version | May 15, 2021 3:01:48 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/tamil-nadu-assembly/campaign-ends-in-tamil-nadu-puducherry/article34240407.ece

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