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    2011 polls: swansong for Karuna, Achuthanandan?

    New Delhi: Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry vote to elect a new government on Wednesday - But will it be a swansong for both the octogenarians Karunanidhi and Achuthanandan? Wednesday’s election might well be the swan song of their electoral battle.The DMK-Congress alliance is battling all odds with the Jayalalithaa led AIADMK-combine launching an all out offensive to unseat 87-year-old Karunanidhi.In the neighbouring Kerala, Achuthanandan is fighting history. The recent developments in the state threaten to make this battle closer to call than it usually is in Kerala. The question is can the battle-scarred veteran Achuthanandan buck the trend of regime change every five years? In a state with electorate of 2.31 crore, it’s the minority votes of Christians and Muslims, constituting 45 percent of the total electorate, that’s going to be a decisive factor.. Last minute preparations are being undertaken by poll officials here in Thiruvananthapuram. 971 candidates will battle it out to form the next government in Kerala.. Security arrangements are also in place, including deployment of Central forces and identification of sensitive booths to see to it that no untoward happens on the polling day.For the 234 assembly segments in Tamil Nadu, 2748 candidates are in the fray - that includes Karunanidhi's son MK Stalin and DMDK founder Vijayakanth, and state congress president KCV Thangabalu.What makes Wednesday’s election more interesting than the ones before is that VS Achuthanandan is having the fiercest battle within his own party, while Karunanidhi is buffeted by anti-incumbency and the messy 2G scam in which DMK skeletons are tumbling out of the cupboard.