As Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Puducherry brace for another phase of polling on Tuesday, the publishing of exit polls remains banned as per the orders of the Election Commission. The poll body had earlier banned the publishing of exit polls from March 27 to April 29, 7:30pm. “Election Commission has notified the period between 7:00 am on March 27, 2021 and 7.30pm on April 29, 2021 as the period during which conducting any exit poll and publishing or publicizing the result of exit poll by means of the print or electronic media or in any other manner shall be prohibited in the ongoing General Elections to the Legislative Assemblies of Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Puducherry,” the poll body had said in an earlier statement.
Tamil Nadu is set to go to polls for single-phase elections for 234 Assembly seats, 140 Kerala Assembly seats and 30 seats of Puducherry Assembly. West Bengal and Assam will be going for third phase of polls. While Bengal is going to polls in eight phases, Assam has its polling staggered in three phases. Bypolls to Kanyakumari Lok Sabha seat in Tamil Nadu and Malappuram Parliamentary constituency in Kerala will also be conducted simultaneously.
The Election Commission has also said that displaying any poll-related matter, including results of any opinion poll or any other poll survey, in electronic media, is prohibited for 48 hours after the conclusion of voting in respective areas in each phase of Assembly elections and bypolls.
Tamil Nadu is witnessing the most intense in its electoral history and the first polls in the absence of stalwarts, AIADMK’s J Jayalalithaa and DMK’s M Karunanidhi.
Chief Minister K Palaniswami, who is seeking a third successive win from Edappadi segment in his home district of Salem, steered his party’s hectic campaign. With women (3,19,39,112) outnumbering men (3,09,23,651), the 6.28 crore voters, which includes 7,192 third gender people, would decide the fortunes of 3,998 candidates. Bypolls to Malappuram and Kanyakumari Lok Sabha seats will also take place on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, describing all 31 West Bengal assembly constituencies where polls will be held on Tuesday as ‘sensitive’, the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Monday imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC, an official said.