After an acrimonious fourteen-day election campaign, arch rivals ruling DMK and opposition AIADMK have held their breaths as the over 4.6 crore-strong electorate in Tamil Nadu will decide on Wednesday, who among them will assert political supremacy.
Political heavyweights among the 2,773 candidates who will have their fates sealed include DMK leader and Chief Minister M Karunanidhi (Tiruvarur), his arch rival and AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa (Srirangam), Karunanidhi's son and Deputy Chief Minister MK Stalin (Kolathur) and DMDK actor-founder Vijayakanth (Rishivandyam).
Both Karunanidhi and Jayalalithaa had confidently asserted during a no holds barred campaign for the Assembly election that their party would form the next government.
Electioneering was on a quiet mode this time around without the usual poll trappings like writings on walls and posters due to the Election Commission's hawk eyed vigil.
Personal attacks against Karunanidhi and his family members by Jayalalithaa and Vijayakant and against the AIADMK chief by Stalin, as well as complaints by rival party leaders against each other to the EC forced the Commission to send notices to these leaders, seeking explanations.
The EC had imposed a lot of restrictions and transferred some District Collectors, DGP and other top police officials on complaints that they were acting in a partisan manner.
The Commission's actions had prompted Karunanidhi, who harped on the theme of development during the campaign, to go hammer and tongs against it, charging the EC with seeming to favour the Opposition and even stating that Tamil Nadu was under a 'mini Emergency'.
His bete noire Jayalalithaa on the other hand targeted him over "rampant corruption" and "collapse" of law and order and asked the voters to rid the state of the DMK patriarch's 'family rule'.
Hike in prices of essential commodities and frequent power cuts were issues picked up by the Opposition to attack the DMK government during the campaign.
A host of national leaders including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, AICC President Sonia Gandhi, AICC General Secretary Rahul Gandhi, BJP leaders LK Advani, Nitin Gadkari, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley and Narendra Modi, Left leaders Prakash Karat and A B Bardhan had descended on Tamil Nadu during the fortnight to campaign for their party's nominees.
The ruling DMK is contesting 119 seats in the 234 member Assembly, leaving 63 seats to Congress, 30 to PMK, 10 to Viduthalai Chirutagal Katchi, seven to Kongu Munnetra Katchi, three to IUML and one each to Moovendar Munnetra Kazhagam and Perunthalaivar Katchi.
AIADMK is contesting 162 seats and has allocated 41 seats to DMDK, 12 to CPI-M, 10 to CPI, three to Manitha Neya Makkal Matchi, two to All India Samuthuva Makkal Katchi, one each to AIFB, All India Movendar Munnetra Kazhagam, RPI and Kongu Ilaginar Peravai.