Polling across 234 assembly constituencies in 38 districts of the state will begin at 7 am. A total of 3,998 candidates are in the poll fray. In view of COVID-19, the number of polling stations has been increased to 88,937.
As many as 74,162 personnel from Tamil Nadu Local & Armed Reserve (AR) Police, 8,010 personnel from Tamil Nadu Special Police (TSP) and 23, 200 personnel from the CAPF have been deployed for the elections, according to the Tamil Nadu Police.
34,130 non-police personnel have also been deployed, including Home Guard, Forest Guard, Retired Police and ex-CAPF along with 6,350 police personnel and 12,411 Home Guard from other states.
The state had in the past witnessed fierce electoral battles between M Karunanidhi of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and J Jayalalitha of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) for over three decades.
This time too the head-to-head battle in nearly 130 constituencies is between the two arch-rivals the ruling AIADMK and MK Stalin-led DMK, which has been out of power since 2011.
AIADMK is contesting the poll in a pre-poll alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Paattali Makkal Katchi (PMK). PMK and BJP are contesting in 23 and 20 constituencies respectively in the 234-member Tamil Nadu assembly while the AIADMK has fielded its candidates for the rest of the seats.
While the DMK has allotted 25 seats to its Congress party, and six each for CPI, CPI (M), Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) and Vaiko's Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK).
In the 2016 assembly elections, the AIADMK won 134 seats, the DMK bagged 80 seats and Congress managed to secure only 8 seats. The BJP drew a blank. In 2019, the DMK-led front had won 37 of the 39 Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu in the general elections.
Jayalalitha died following a cardiac arrest in 2016 and her political rival Karunanidhi passed away in 2018 after prolonged age-related illnesses. In 2019, Tamil Nadu witnessed the Lok Sabha elections in which the DMK-led front had won 37 of the 39 parliamentary seats.
Jayalalitha became the chief minister six times between 1991 and 2016 albeit with interruptions due to the disproportionate assets case. Whereas, Karunanidhi held the coveted post four times until 2011.
After 'Amma', AIADMK is now being led by EPS and OPS while Stalin has taken over the reins of the party following Karunanidhi's demise.
Despite the absence of two stalwarts, their photos were seen in posters and roadshows of both AIADMK and DMK during the campaigns.
After an intense poll campaign in Tamil Nadu Assembly, the ball will soon be in voters' court to decide whether Edappadi K Palaniswami will continue as Chief Minister or MK Stalin will emerge as the winner in the contest for the coveted post.
The AIADMK launched scathing attacks against the DMK for practising dynastic politics and promised development. On the other side, Stalin has called the AIADMK government a slave to the BJP and alleged corruption during its tenure.
Stalin had alleged that the AIADMK government had taken Tamil Nadu back 50 years.In Tamil Nadu, the people have traditionally seen the DMK and the AIADMK hold power alternately since 1967. However, AIADMK emerged victorious in the last two Assembly elections.
According to the Election Commission, as per the final electoral rolls of Special Summary Revision, 2021, the total electorate in Tamil Nadu is 6,26,74,446 including 3,08,38,473 males, 3,18,28,727 females and 7,246 third gender.
The counting of votes will be done on May 2.
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