A view from counting centre in Tamil Nadu | Photo:ANI
Chennai: Counting of votes polled in the Tamil Nadu Assembly election held on April 6 commenced on Sunday across the state amid tight security and in tune with fresh COVID-19 guidelines. As per the trends at 9.20 am, DMK is leading in 36 seats and AIADMK in 11 seats.
About an hour following commencement of counting of votes for the April 6 Assembly elections, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami was leading in his home segment of Edappadi in Salem district and leader of opposition and DMK president M K Stalin was ahead in Kolathur constituency here.
Indications showed that the DMK was ahead in constituencies including Kurinjipadi, Neyveli, Virudhachalam.
The exercise began at 8 am in 75 counting centres spread across the state with authorities taking up a count of postal ballots first, authorities said.
With exit polls predicting a landslide victory for the DMK which was in opposition for 10 years, the outcome is crucial for the ruling AIADMK as well, which dismissed theprediction and expressed confidence that it would retain power for the second time in a row.
The AIADMK captured power in 2011 from DMK and retained power in 2016.
There are nearly 4,000 (3,998) candidates in the fray, including top AIADMK leaders, Chief Minister
K Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, DMK president M K Stalin and his son and party youth wing secretary, Udhayanidhi Stalin, who is seeking to enter the Assembly for the first time.
Though there were four fronts, including actor-politician Kamal Haasan's Makkal Needhi Maiam-led
combine, the key contest is between the ruling AIADMK and main opposition DMK.
AIADMK's rival and Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) chief T T V Dhinakaran, MNM's Haasan, BJP state unit chief L Murugan and the saffron party's Khushbu Sundar are among the prominent candidates.
The AMMK-DMDK combine and Nam Thamizhar Katchi are also in the fray.
The votes recorded in EVMs would be taken up by 8.30 am and it is also set to be tallied as per rules with Voter- Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT).
Counting agents were allowed through specifed pathways into counting halls after verifying if they have complied with norms like RT-PCR tests and two doses of COVID-19 vaccination.
Sunday being a complete lockdown in Tamil Nadu to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, the roads were deserted and over one lakh police personnel have been deployed as part of security measures for the vote counting day.
Polls were held to 234 constituencies in Tamil Nadu and by-election was also held to the Kanyakumari Lok Sabha seat, where Congress party's Vijay Vasanth and BJP leader Pon Radhakrishnan are the key candidates.