About 20% of an estimated 5.50 crore voters today excercised their franchise in 39 Lok Sabha constituencies in Tamil Nadu and the lone seat in Puducherry by 10 am.
Brisk voting was witnessed in parts of the city, Karur, Cuddalore, Salem and Tiruvannamalai constituencies as voters queued to cast their votes during the early hours. Tamil Nadu and Puducherry is having single-phase polling today.
Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, MDMK founder Vaiko, Union Minister in the PMO V Narayanasamy seeking re-election in the Union Territory of Puducherry, Tamil actors Rajnikant and Kamal Haasan were among those who cast their votes.
Expelled DMK leader M K Alagiri, Union Finance Finance Minister P Chidambaram, DMK Treasurer M K Stalin, Kanimozhi, former Union Minister Dayanidhi Maran seeking re-election in Chennai Central and N Srinivasan were other promiment personalities who exercised their franchise.
Malfunctioning of EVMs held up voting for a brief spell in Myladuthurai, Krishnagiri and few other places, but electoral authorities fixed the problem and ensured resumption of voting, official sources said. Polling that started at 7 AM remained incident-free so far as 1.47 lakh security personnel kept a close watch on the election process.
Voting is progressing in Alandur Assembly constituency which is facing bypoll to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation by 'Panruti' Ramachandran.
Notable candidates whose poll prospects would be decided by the electorate include 2G scam accused A Raja (Nilgiri), Anbumani Ramadoss (Dharmapuri), T R Baalu (Thanjavur), Manishankar Aiyar (Myladuthurai), MDMK chief Vaiko (Virudhunagar), T K S Elangovan (South Chennai) and state unit BJP President Pon Radhakrishna (Kanyakumari).
Jayalalithaa cast her vote at the Stella Maris College polling station by 9 AM and appealed for voters' cooperation to EC for peaceful elections. "I appeal to everyone, political parties and the voters to extend cooperation to Election Commission to hold free, fair and peaceful elections," she said.