Millions vote in Tamil Nadu (Third Lead)

Chennai, May 16 (IANS) Nearly 15 million people voted on Monday in the first four hours of polling to pick a new Tamil Nadu assembly, officials said.

The Election Commission said some 25.2 per cent of the 58 million voters had exercised their franchise between 7 and 11 a.m.

Leaders of all major political parties were among the early voters.

Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa and AIADMK general secretary, however, did not make the usual claims about the electoral outcome.

“In two days time, the people’s verdict will be known,” she said after voting here.

DMK chief and former chief minister M. Karunanidhi, his son and party treasurer M.K. Stalin and state BJP leader Tamilisai Soundararajan voted in Chennai. Congress leader P. Chidambaram voted in Sivaganga district.

Speaking to reporters, Karunanidhi said the DMK-Congress combine was poised to win and form the next government.

Madurai, Tiruchirapalli and some places in southern districts saw rains, which in turn slowed down the voting.

In Chennai, voting was progressing briskly, officials said. Actors Kamal Hassan, Rajinikanth, Ajith, Sundar. C and Kushboo voted in the city.

Polling in 232 of the 234 assembly constituencies began at 7.00 a.m. and will end at 6.00 p.m. Polling has been cancelled in two constituencies: Thanjavur and Aravakurichi.

In the 232 constituencies, 3,728 candidates are in the fray.

The ruling AIADMK is aligned with some smaller parties. The DMK has aligned with the Congress, two Muslim parties and some smaller outfits.

The third front, led by the DMDK, comprises the CPI-M, CPI, VCK, TMC and MDMK.

The PMK is contesting alone while the BJP has aligned with a few smaller parties.



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