Actor Kamal Hasan could not vote. He found his name missing from the voters’ list when he went to the booth, though he has been staying at Alwarpet in Chennai Central for decades.
But barring this and other incidents — in Dindigul district, a DMK functionary was stabbed to death outside a polling booth; and in many places, EVMs did not work and took nearly half an hour to fix — voting was brisk, nearly 68 per cent, across all three constituencies of the city: Chennai Central, Chennai North and Chennai South. Even a clash between political workers in Chennai Central, in which six people were injured, failed to deter voters from stepping out.
The incident, the sole one marring an otherwise peaceful poll, occurred when workers of a recently formed Muslim outfit, the Manithaneya Makkal Katchi (MMK), tried to stop alleged bogus voting by DMK workers in a predominantly Muslim area. The men were all badly beaten up, and the car they were traveling in, smashed.
Setting the tone for the day was the 85-year-old chief minister himself, M. Karunanidhi, who, despite his severe back problems which have seen him in and out of hospital since February, reached his polling booth by mid morning, accompanied by most of his family. Though still in a wheelchair, he remained as feisty as ever. “Victory will be ours and we will again be part of the central government,” he said.
Not far away, having cast her vote, AIADMK chief J. Jayalalithaa, 61, held forth on the numerous difficulties her supporters were facing in casting their votes. “If the elections are fair, our alliance will sweep the polls,” she said.