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TN by-polls: Vikravandi, Nanguneri likely to give an idea of voter mood in state

By Vishal S

Chennai, Oct 21: Voting is underway across 574 polling stations in Vikravandi and Nanguneri assembly constituencies of Tamil Nadu.This is the first assembly by-polls after the Lok Sabha polls in Tamil Nadu. The by-elections will give a rough idea about the mindset of the voters.

Bypoll in Vikravandi was necessitated due to the death of DMK legislator K.Rathamani in June. Nanguneri seat fell vacant after Congress legislator H.Vasantha Kumar got elected to the Lok Sabha.

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From Vikravandi, AIADMK has fielded M R Muthamizhselvan who will be taking on DMK's N Pugazhendhi. From Nanguneri assembly constituency, AIADMK has fielded Reddiyarpatti V Narayanan who will be taking on Congress party's Ruby Manoharan. DMK and Congress are allies, their leadership had decided to to contest from one constituency each.

[Polls and by-polls on Oct 21: List of all seats where voting is underway today]

As the voting exercise began by 7 am, women outnumbered men in a handful of polling stations at Vikravandi in Villupuram District and at Nanguneri in Tirunelveli district. Both youngsters and senior citizens showed equal interest in exercising their franchise, PTI reported.

In Vikravandi, 18 polling stations are "critical," and 32 "vulnerable." As regards Nanguneri, there are no critical polling booths and there are 110 vulnerable stations. While Vikravandi has an electorate of 2.57 lakh voters, Nanguneri has 2.23 lakh voters. Over 3,000 personnel are on duty for the bypolls in Tamil Nadu. About six companies of paramilitary forces are on the ground in the two segments for the byelections.

Why these by-polls are crucial?

For AIADMK, a loss in bypolls may not destabilise the ruling AIADMK government, but a win would definitely boost its confidence as it enjoys a wafert thin majority in the assembly.

From 1989, the ruling party had always won by-polls in Tamil Nadu. However, DMK broke the record when it won a majority of the 22 assembly seats for which bypolls that were held in May 2019.

The upcoming byelections assume special significance as the AIADMK has to win both seats to boost morale among the party cadre after the LS poll debacle.

[October 21 by-polls: Key constituencies to watch out for]

The bypoll comes close on the heels of the April 18 Lok Sabha elections which the DMK and its allies swept, winning 37 of the 38 seats in the hustings then. The AIADMK could only win the lone Theni Lok Sabha seat in the April 18 parliamentary polls.

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