Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry Vote In Final Round Of Assembly Polls: 10 Points

Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry Vote In Final Round Of Assembly Polls: 10 Points

A polling officer arranges EVMs at a distribution centre on the eve of Assembly elections in Kasaragod on Sunday, May 15, 2016. (Press Trust of India photo)

After heated campaigning for over two months of peak summer, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Union Territory Puducherry vote today to choose their next governments. While the AIADMK and the Congress-led UDF are hoping for a comeback in Tamil Nadu and Kerala respectively, the BJP is hoping to get a toe-hold in the two key southern states.
Top 10 points:
  1. In Tamil Nadu, where power has oscillated between the AIADMK and the DMK over the last few decades, Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa is seeking a second successive term in office. Her biggest rival is 93-year-old M Karunanidhi, who is hoping to lead the other Dravidian giant, DMK, back to power.  
  2. There are two other contenders for the top post in the four-cornered contest in the state: actor-turned-politician Vijayakanth of DMDK-PWF-TMC combine and PMK's Anbumani Ramadoss.
  3. DMK president M Karunanidhi and actor Rajinikanth were among the early voters in Chennai who cast their votes in the first hour of polling.Confident of DMK's victory in polls, Mr Krunanidhi said, "We will win enough number of seats, our winning prospects are bright."
  4. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who drew flak on social media over his alleged Kerala-Somalia comparison, today urged voters in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry to vote in record numbers today.
  5. In Kerala, where voting is being held for 140 seats, the LDF is hoping for a victory, as power has alternated between the two parties every five years. Though a formal declaration is yet to be made, 93-year-old former chief minister VS Achuthanandan, a charismatic mass leader, is seen as the Left's Chief Ministerial candidate.
  6. But the Congress Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, who had been battling allegations of corruption and deteriorating law and order, says he is confident of scripting history by breaking the pattern and retaining power for another five years.
  7. Elections are also being held on the 30 seats in Puducherry, where Chief Minister N Rangaswamy, the leader of All India NR Congress is seeking re-election. In 2011, the newly formed party by the rebel Congressman had won 15 seats.
  8. In Tamil Nadu -- where voting is being held for 232 seats -- election authorities have seized more than Rs 100 crore unaccounted cash. The seizures have triggered allegations of cash for votes against the ruling AIADMK, which had also distributed a huge amount of freebies among the people in the run-up to the election. The Election Commission already postponed the voting in Aravakurichi and Thanjavur over reports of money distribution.
  9. In Kerala, the BJP has stitched up an alliance with the newly floated Bharat Dharma Jana Sena, a party floated by an organisation of the backward Ezhava Hindu community, which form 23 per cent of the population.
  10. Counting of votes in all five states -- Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal, Assam and Puducherry -- will be taken up on May 19 to decide the outcome of what has been described as a "mini general elections".

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Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa is seeking a second straight term
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy is confident of retaining power
Polling is also being held for the 30 seats in Puducherry
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