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TN’s date with democracy today

Chennai | Updated on April 05, 2021

Nearly 6.26 crore people are expected to cast their votes in a keenly contested election

It’s election day in Tamil Nadu on Tuesday and nearly 6.26 crore voters will decide whether to give a hat-trick victory to the ruling AIADMK or bring back the DMK to power. However, with the rise in Coronavirus cases, there could be some hesitancy to vote, especially in urban areas.

Of the total voters, 3.18 crore are women, 3.08 men, and over 7,200 persons from the third gender, according to the Election Commission of India.

As per the final rolls, the Shozhinganallur Assembly constituency, in Chengalpattu district, continues to have the highest number of electors at 6,94,845, while the Harbour Assembly constituency, in Chennai, continues to be the lowest with 1,76,272 electors.

Polling stations

The Election Commission of India has increased the number of polling stations in the State to 88,937 from 68,324. Nearly 4.17 lakh personnel will be on polling duty, and police and non-police forces deployed will be at around 1.58 lakh across the State. Soon after the day of polling, EVMs and VVPATs would be shifted to 76 counting centres across the State.

Polling stations are equipped with Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines with EVMs in all polling stations for the Assembly elections.

Tamil Nadu has received 1,20,807 VVPAT machines and every constituency will have 30 to 50 per cent of additional machines for immediate replacement in case of malfunction on polling day.

Tamil Nadu Chief Electoral Officer Satyabrata Sahoo said that out of the 88,937 polling stations 537 have been identified as critical polling stations and 10,813 as vulnerable polling stations.

Covid norms

Wearing a mask is compulsory for voters, who will be screened using a temperature scanner. If a person has Covid-19 symptoms, he/she will be issued a medical certificate and allowed to vote during the additional hour (6 pm to 7 pm). They will be given a PPE kit when they come to cast their votes. Further, every elector will be given a hand glove to be used while pressing the button in EVMs.

Tamil Nadu continues to be in the limelight when it comes to distribution of cash and ‘kind’ to woo voters. Cash and ‘kind’ valued at ₹428.46 crore have been seized so far since the announcement to the State Assembly and the lone by-poll for the Kanyakumari Lok Sabha. The seizure includes ₹225.5 crore in cash; precious metal (gold, silver, diamond and other ornaments) worth ₹176.11 crore; liquor (2,75,293 litres) worth ₹4.61 crore, and other items valued at ₹20.01 crore, according to a press release issued by State Election Commission.

The State is known for its freebie culture with a variety of products ranging from bicycles, mixies to laptops. This year, too, the freebie culture continues with the AIADMK promising free washing machines; six free LPG cylinders annually to every family; free solar stove and mosquito net, while the DMK on its part will offer tablets with free data to government school and college students.

However, the Madras High Court came down hard on the freebie culture. Whether the development is achieved or not, the freebies only achieved in creating/inculcating laziness among the people, shattering the work culture of the State. Consequently, no labour or sufficient labour is available and no work is done in the State without migrant labourers from other States, the Court had observed.

Published on April 05, 2021

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