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Tight security for counting of votes in TN

Written by: Staff
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Chennai, May 10: Counting of votes polled in the May eight single-phase elections to all 234 Assembly constituencies in Tamil Nadu will begin at 0800 hrs tomorrow amid tight security.

AIADMK General Secretary and Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, her ministerial colleagues, DMK President M Karunanidhi, actor Vijayakant and DMK Deputy General Secretary M K Stalin are among the political heavyweights whose fortunes are at stake.

Counting would be taken up at 82 centres in 60 towns spread across the state. Postal ballots would be counted first followed by votes polled through EVMs, official sources said. While trends would be known in a couple of hours, first results were expected by 1100 hrs. Results of all 234 seats would be known by afternoon.

Authories have made round-the-clock foolproof security arrangements in all counting centres with three-tier security cover being provided by paramilitary forces and local police.

A total of 2,586 candidates, including 1,222 independents, are in the fray. As many as 160 women are also testing their luck.

A record 70.22 per cent of the over 4.63 crore electorate voted in the election on May 8, the highest turnout since 1984.

The ruling AIADMK, heading the Democratic People's Alliance (DPA), has the highest number of 182 candidates, leaving 52 seats to allies - MDMK (35), Dalit Panthers of India (9), two to Indian National League and an INTUC faction, one each to JD(S), an IUML splinter group, Moovender Munnetra Kazhagam and the AIFB's Santhanam faction.

The DMK is contesting 129 seats, having left 48 seats to Congress, 31 to PMK, 13 to CPI-M, ten to CPI and three to IUML. This is the second time the DMK is contesting such a low number of seats.

While the BJP is contesting 180 seats, Vijaykant's Desiya Murpokku Dravidar Kazhagam (DMDK) is testing the waters in all seats.

AIADMK has 140 members in the outgoing Assembly, DMK 30, Congress 25, PMK 16, CPI(M) six, CPI and BJP five each and Forward Bloc one.

Karur constituency recorded the highest turnout at 77.15 per cent, while the lowest was 58.28 per cent in Chennai. The May eight poll, which was by and large peaceful barring a few minor incidents, recorded a 11 per cent increase over the 59.05 per cent votes during the 2001 Assembly election. While male voters constituted 51 per cent, women accounted for 49.

Meanwhile, repoll is being held today in 18 polling stations, falling under ten Assembly constituencies.

The Election Commission ordered the repoll following reports of EVM malfunctioning and also due to technical problems relating to maintenance of important accounts by Presiding Officers.

Of these booths, five are located in Tiruttani constituency, three in Palacode and one each in Anna Nagar, Sriperumbudur, Mugaiyur, Aathur, Vedachandur, Kolathur, Thiruvandanai, Paramakudi, Virudhunagar and Vasudevanallur constituencies.

UNI

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