CHENNAI: Voting for the much awaited Presidential elections will be held on Monday at the Secretariat amid tight security. All necessary arrangements have been completed for polling under the guidance of Observer Anshu Prakash and Tamil Nadu Chief Electoral Officer Rajesh Lakhoni.
“All arrangements for holding the voting for the Presidential polls have been put in place,” Rajesh Lakhoni told the media.
Polling will commence at 10 am at the voting chamber arranged at the committee hall, by the side of the Assembly Hall, at Fort St George. Three polling officers will be on duty in the voting chamber.
As many as 233 MLAs belonging to Tamil Nadu and a lone member from Kerala, Parakkal Abdullah, and Union minister Pon Radhakrishnan are expected to cast their votes in Chennai.
They can’t take their own pens into the voting hall. Instead, they will be provided with a specially designed pen with violet ink by the polling personnel once they enter the voting hall. The legislators must also produce their identity card to the polling officers before receiving the ballot paper.
300 cops on guard
Police have made elaborate security measures ahead of the Presidential poll. A security blanket- with a contingent of about 300 policemen, headed by Additional Commissioner H M Jayaram, has been thrown in and outside the Secretariat. The strong room where the polling material have been kept is guarded by armed police personnel round-the-clock, a senior police officer said. Dog squads will also be deployed on the premises of the Assembly Secretariat.
Mentoring of MLA
Meanwhile, legislators were briefed on the polling process by their respective leaders. Senior ministers were assigned with the duty of taking AIADMK legislators into the voting chamber. On Sunday morning, special sessions were held for AIADMK MLAs belonging to the official faction. Senior ministers explained how to cast their votes, party sources said.
The MLAs were divided into batches with a senior minister nominated to guide them in the polls. One of the three legislators, Thamimun Ansari, elected on AIADMK symbol from Nagapattinam, has already made it known that he would not vote for NDA nominee Ram Nath Kovind, though all the AIADMK factions have pledged support to Kovind.
Will Karunanidhi make it?
It is doubtful if DMK president M Karunanidhi will turn up at the Secretariat for casting his vote due to his health condition. He has not stepped out of his Gopalapuram residence since October last.
However, DMK working president M K Stalin sought to maintain the suspense, saying “wait for Monday morning.”