Presidential poll ends in Tamilnadu by 12 noon

By NT Bureau Published on Jul 17, 2017 03:14 PM IST

Chennai: Polling to elect the 14th President of India in Tamilnadu came to an end in the State with 234 votes registered by 12 pm. However the officials said that they will wait till 5 pm.

The polling began at 10 am this morning with the ballot box kept at the Cabinet Hall in the Legislative Assembly complex. The legislators were allowed through the gate 4 and made their exit at the gate 1.

AIADMK Amma faction leader and Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami was the first to cast his ballot.

"I am the first person to exercise my franchise," he told reporters after casting his vote. "Since it was a secret ballot, I cannot disclose to whom I voted," Palaniswami added.

He was followed by Assembly Speaker P Dhanapal, former Chief Minister and rebel faction and AIADMK PTA Leader O Panneerselvam, Leader of the Opposition and DMK Working President M K Stalin and other MLAs.

Senior BJP leader and Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan also exercised his franchise in Chennai, along with an IUML MLA from Kerala's Kuttiady constituency, Parakkal Abdulla, who is in the city for medical treatment.

Semmalai was the last legislator to cast his vote who was preceded by DMK's whip Chakkarapani. Later, all the MLAs of the ruling and Opposition parties cast their ballots. Panneerselvam said the NDA candidate would win by a resounding margin.

While the ruling BJP-led NDA has fielded Ram Nath Kovind as the Presidential candidate, an united Opposition led by the Congress-led UPA has nominated former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar.

In Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and others cast their votes. Going by the numbers, Kovind was expected to sail through comfortably.

The ballot box would be sealed and taken to New Delhi today and the counting of votes will be done on 20 July and the results will be declared on the same day, four days before the incumbent President Pranab Mukherjee’s term ends. The new President is expected to assume office on 21 July.

It may be recalled that all the factions of the ruling AIADMK in Tamilnadu have pledged their support for Ram Nath Kovind, while Congress' ally , the DMK has expressed its support to Meira Kumar.

Both the candidates visited the city recently to seek the support of various political parties.

Why Karunanidhi didn't vote?

Addressing mediapersons after casting his vote, Stalin said that DMK president M Karunanidhi will not vote in this election as per doctors' advice.

Twist Behind 234?

Of the total 234 MLAs, the State Assembly has a strength of 233. One seat, R K Nagar, was lying vacant following the death of J Jayalalitha. Since Karunanidhi also did not vote, a total of 232 Tamilnadu MLA votes were cast along with one vote of Parakkal Abdulla and that of Pon Radhakrishnan taking the number of votes polled to 234.