Tamil Nadu all set for D-Day tomorrow

The fate of 2,773 candidates including arch-rivals DMK and AIADMK chiefs M Karunanidhi and J Jayalalithaa respectively will be known with the results of the fiercely fought elections to the 234-member Assembly expecting to be out by tomorrow evening.
DMK is seeking a second successive term and AIADMK itching to return to power after a five-year hiatus during which various issues including the 2G spectrum scam surfaced.
75.21 per cent of the voters had exercised their franchise in the recently-concluded state polls, which saw the Election Commission cracking the whip on political parties to check irregularities, particularly use of money power to woo voters, prompting contrasting reactions from the two major Dravidian parties.

DMK patriarch Karunanidhi had launched a scathing attack against the EC, which had adopted many tough measures to prevent flow of money, even calling for curtailing its powers.

His bete noire Jayalalithaa, on the other hand, had never let even a slight opportunity to knock at the EC's doors.

The electoral outcome would come at a time when the probe into 2G spectrum allocation scam has reached the DMK first family with Karunanidhi's daughter and DMK Rajya Sabha member Kanimozhi been chargesheeted by CBI as a co-conspirator with former telecom minister A Raja in the case.

While Raja has been lodged in Tihar jail for his alleged role in the scam, the fate of Kanimozhi will be decided on May 14 when a Delhi court delivers its order on her bail plea.

In the event of DMK retaining power, 87-year-old Karunanidhi is likely to assume charge as chief minister for his sixth term in the wake of simmering succession war between his sons M K Stalin and M K Alagiri.DMK, which contested only 119 seats, will have to bank on the support of Congress, which had made a strong pitch for power-sharing after forcing the alliance leader to part with 63 seats in a tough bargaining during seat allocation.
The poll is crucial for Jayalalithaa, who fought a do-or- die battle to storm back to power which she lost in 2006. Her party had contested 160 seats besides allotting 42 to actor-politician Vijayakant's DMDK.

Other important personalities in the fray include Deputy Chief Minister Stalin, DMDK chief Vijayakant, BJP state president P Radhakrishnan, CITU state general secretary A Sounderrajan and TNCC president K V Thangkabalu.

DMK is confident that its populist measures like free TV and rice at Re one a kg would ensure it another term, AIADMK highlighted "failure" of law and order and power cuts.
According to state Chief Electoral Officer Praveen Kumar, counting process would start at 8:00 am when postal ballots will be opened.

The EC has made elaborate security arrangements for the EVMs which are being guarded round-the-clock in a three-tier security.

State DGP Bhola Nath said the entire Tamil Nadu Police would be in force on the day of counting. Besides, 45 companies of para-military forces will be on duty tomorrow with a minimum of 12 paramilitary personnel in each of the 91 counting centres. Home Guards will also be pressed to regulate traffic

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