TN assembly polls: Campaign to come to an end

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Chennai, Apr 11: An acrimonious campaign marked by personal attacks, both by leaders of ruling and opposition parties, for April 13 polls to the 234-member Tamil Nadu Assembly will come to an end today (Apr 11).

The fate of 2,773 candidates, including DMK leader and Chief Minister M Karunanidhi (Tiruvarur), his arch rival and AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa (Srirangam), Deputy Chief Minister M K Stalin (Kolathur) and DMDK founder A Vijayakanth (Rishivandyam) will be decided on Wednesday.

Personal attacks against Karunanidhi and his family members by Jayalalithaa and Vijayakanth and against AIADMK chief by Stalin during the electioneering and complaints by the rival part leaders against each other to the Election Commission forced it to send notices to these leaders seeking explanations.

While Karunanidhi harped on the theme of development, Jayalalithaa charged the ruling party with failure on power front, leading to frequent cuts in the state.

Hike in the prices of essential commodities was another theme picked up by the opposition to attack the DMK government during the campaign.

The 2G spectrum allocation scam, in which DMK leader and former Telecom Minister A Raja has been lodged in the Tihar jail and charge sheeted, took a back seat in the campaign, though Jayalalithaa had mentioned about it at Perambalur, the native place of Raja.

Jayalalithaa had alleged that the first family members of the DMK had earned enormous wealth during the party's five year rule.

While rebutting the charge, Stalin said Jayalalithaa had no family and did not know the value of it. "In a way, her charge of family rule was right as Kalaignar (Karunanidhi) treated all Tamils as his family members. Each and every family in the state got some benefits during his rule," he said.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, AICC President Sonia Gandhi, AICC General Secretary Rahul Gandhi, BJP leaders L K Advani, Nitin Gadkari, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley and Narendra Modi, Left leaders Prakash Karat and A B Bardhan were some of the national leaders who campaigned for their party's nominees.

Charges of distribution of money to lure voters had been raised by both DMK and AIADMK and officials had seized about Rs 25 crore since the campaign started.

Election Commission's restrictions made the campaign noiseless and posters and wall writings were conspicuous by its absence as also festivity linked with the polls.

PTI

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