Voting for the second phase of the 2019 general elections is currently underway in 95 seats across 11 States. Tamil Nadu leads the pack with 38 seats (polling in Vellore was called off after a massive cash haul). This is the first Lok Sabha polls in the state following the deaths of AIADMK leader Jayalalithaa and DMK supremo M Karunanidhi.
The State recorded a poll percentage of about 40% till 1 pm, and just over 52% as of 3 pm. However, complaints have been coming in on social media about people facing transportation issues to reach their hometowns where they have to cast their vote in. Despite this, out of the approximately 6 crore voters in the State, 21.9% had turned up by noon. The day has remained largely calm, without any incidents of violence. However, a 63-year-old died due following cardiac arrest while waiting to cast his vote in Erode. MS Pandian, a booth agent of the AIADMK, was hacked in Madurai, but it is not clear if the violence was election-related or due to previous enmity.
Politicians such as Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswamy and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam cast their votes early in the day. In the film world, Rajinikanth, who is expected to soon take a plunge into full-time politics, was the first among celebrities to cast his vote; he belongs to Chennai Central constituency, and his polling booth was at Stella Maris College, Chennai.
Makkal Needhi Maiam founder Kamal Haasan and his daughter, singer-actor Shruti Haasan, cast their votes at the polling booth in Eldams Road Corporation School. Polling there was delayed for a while after the electronic voting machine malfunctioned.
Actors Dhanush, Arjun and Siddharth cast their votes at St Francis School, TTK Road. Other celebrities who cast their votes in the State include Ajith and his wife Shalini, Suriya, Jyothika, Karthi, Chinmayi Sripaada, Aniruddh Ravichander, Meena and Khushboo.
However, there were a few who faced hurdles while casting their vote. The most prominent among them was Sivakarthikeyan. The actor who came to Good Shepherd School in Valsaravakkam to cast his vote managed to do so after a while; his name seemed to be initially missing from the list. Robo Shankar too was not able to cast his vote. Srikanth’s name was also missing from the list, but he was later able to cast his vote.
Actor Ramesh Kanna, who had to fly to Thiruvananthapuram at 10 am, had turned up at the polling booth in Dasarathapuram at 6 in the morning only to find out that his name was missing from the list. He then showed them his voter ID and requested permission to vote. Speaking to Silverscreen from the airport, he said “I arrived at the voting booth early in the morning since I had to attend a debate show at Nagercoil. I have been voting from the same constituency for five elections now,” says the actor. “I showed them all my credentials, including my voter ID and Aadhar card, but to no avail. Why do I have to suffer if my name is not in the list compiled by them?”
Asked if he planned to move legally, the actor said: “I am not Vijay from Sarkar to move legally.” However, he plans to address the issue at a press meet in Nagercoil.