Voters lined up at polling stations across Tamil Nadu Thursday as balloting got underway for all the 39 Lok Sabha seats and the bypoll for one assembly seat. Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa and DMK leader K. Karunanidhi also voted, as did 14 percent of the electorate in the first two hours.
AIADMK general secretary Jayalalithaa told reporters after voting: "I request all political parties and general public to cooperate with the Election Commission to ensure voting is peaceful and fair."
Officials said the polling was peaceful.
Over 55 million voters, including 27 million women, are eligible to vote. Nearly 13 percent of the voters are in the 18-25 year age group.
As many as 846 candidates are in the fray for the Lok Sabha seats and 14 in the bye-poll for the Alandur assembly seat.
Voting is being held in a single phase in over 60,000 polling stations, of which 9,226 have been identified as sensitive.
Over 100,000 security personnel have been deployed in the state.
Many voters headed for their polling stations after completing their early morning walk.
"The polling process is smooth. The voter's queues moved briskly," V. Nitya, a voter in South Chennai constituency, told IANS.
In several polling stations, electronic voting machines did not function, delaying the polling process. Officials said the malfunctioning machines were attended to.
Chief Electoral Officer Praveen Kumar said there will not be any extension in polling hours because of the time lost due to machine faults.
Tamil movie actor Rajnikanth was one of the early voters. Other actors like Kamal Hassan and Ajith also cast their votes.