Chennai An estimated 6.29 crore electorate are expected to cast their ballots, as the single phase polling in one of the most fiercely contested elections to elect the 16th Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly began at 0700 hrs on Tuesday, apart from the bypoll to the Kanyakumari Lok Sabha seat.
As the covid pandemic protocols are in force, polling for the 234-Assembly seats began in more than 88,000 polling booths across the state, which was 34.73 per cent higher in view of the pandemic.
Actor Ajith Kumar is among the early birds to cast his ballot in the city as he, accompanied by his wife Shalini, turned up at the polling booth well in advance before the voting process started, stood in the queue and cast thier ballots.
More than 1.55 lakh Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) along with VVEPAT slips are being used during the polling, being held amid tight security and deployment of para military forces and state police personnel.
Election Commission sources said that enhanced security is provided in more than 10,000 sensitive and hyper sensitive booths where the entire polling process are videographed and webcast live.
The polling, which commenced at 0700 hrs will end at 1900 hrs in the evening, an extension by an hour in view of the pandemic. With a view to ensure maximum turnout, the ECI also announced that those infected by the covid virus and are in self-isolation, are allowed to vote in the last hour by wearing the necessary PPE kits.
All those wearing face masks alone are allowed to enter the polling booth after thermal scanning and following the SOPs.