Voting began this morning in all 39 Lok Sabha constituencies in Tamil Nadu and the lone seat in neighbouring union territory of Puducherry in the single phase elections, under a tight security blanket.
An estimated 5.50 crore electorate will decide the electoral fortunes of 845 Lok Sabha aspirants, including former Union ministers A Raja, Dayanidhi Maran, T R Baalu, S Jagathrakshakan and T K S Elangovan (all DMK) and Manishankar Iyer and Karti Chidambaram, son of Union Finance Minister P Chidamabaram of Congress. PMK leader and former Union Minister Anbumani Ramadoss and MDMK founder Vaiko are among the prominent candidates contesting elections.
About 1.47 lakh security personnel are keeping a vigil on the poll process in the state, where staunch political rivals - ruling AIADMK and DMK have crossed swords, even as the six-party BJP led NDA alliance is dreaming of opening its account in this southern state. BJP has roped in Vijayakant-led DMDK, MDMK, PMK, IJK, PNK and the Kongunadu party.
Karunanidhi led DMK, which spurned the Congress offer to revive the snapped electoral ties has VCK, IUML, MMK and PT under its Democractic Progressive Alliance (DPA). Congress, shorn of allies, has taken the poll battle on its own and is contesting all 39 seats.
In Puducherry, Congress leader and Minister of State in PMO V Narayanaswamy is locked in a stiff contest with ruling AINRC and PMK in a multi-cornered fight with 30 aspirants in the fray. Puducherry has a total electorate of 8.85 lakh. The Alandur assembly seat fell vacant in the wake of veteran leader Panruti Ramachandran quitting his assembly membership which he won on a DMDK ticket and later crossed over to AIADMK.