CHENNAI: All arrangements are in place at the State secretariat for the July 17 presidential elections.
Anshu Prakash, headquarters Observer for this election from Delhi, held detailed discussions with CEO Rajesh Lakhoni who is also an Observer, K Boopathy, Assistant Returning Officer and senior police officials.
Prakash also visited the committee hall where polling is taking place on July 17 between 10 am and 5 pm.
Answering queries from mediapersons after the meeting, Rajesh Lakhoni said 233 MLAs in the Assembly would be casting their votes at the Secretariat. Apart from them, one MLA from Kerala, Abdullah has got special permission from the EC to cast his vote here. Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan will also cast his vote from the Secretariat.
Lakhoni said 275 ballot papers and 20 special pens used for casting votes had been kept ready. The ballot boxes will be brought from strong room to the polling venue at around 9.30 am. on July 17. Those who cast their votes should hand over their mobile phones and pens outside the polling venue. There will be three agents each for two candidates - Ram Nath Kovind and S Meira Kumar - and two of them will be inside the polling venue at a time. Ansu Prakash would also be present during the polling hours. Only photographers would be allowed to take shots when leaders cast their votes.
Support for candidates
In all, the MLAs and MPs in Tamil Nadu constitute around eight per cent of the votes in the country for presidential elections. The AIADMK has 135 MLAs (including the Speaker) in the Assembly. However, Thameemun Ansari of Jananayaka Manithaneya Makkal Katchi who was elected to Assembly on Two Leaves symbol had declared his support for Meira Kumar as political parties cannot issue whip for the presidential elections. So, the rest of the 134 MLAs and 49 MPs (except Sasikala Pushpa who has been expelled from the AIADMK) belonging to both factions of the AIADMK will cast their votes for NDA nominee Ram Nath Kovind since both factions as well as TTV Dhinakaran have declared support for Kovind already.
PMK youth wing leader Anbumani Ramadoss will be boycotting the presidential elections since the BJP had failed to meet the PMK’s demand for a promise to constitute the Cauvery Management Board within one month for extending support to Kovind.
The DMK has 89 MLAs while Congress has eight and the IUML one. So, 98 MLAs belonging to the DMK and its allies will vote for Meira Kumar. The DMK has no representation in Lok Sabha but has four MPs in Rajya Sabha. CPI MP from Tamil Nadu D Raja and CPM MP from the State TK Rangarajan will also vote for Meira Kumar.