violence on Monday marred the end of campaign for assembly polls
in Kerala leaving a minister injured while curtains came down
on electioneering in neighbouring Tamil Nadu and Puducherry
for the single-phase elections on April 13.
A group of UDF workers attempted to block the vehicle
of Ports Minister and LDF candidate V Surendran Pillai when he
was canvassing in the dying moments of the campaign in
Poothura area in Thiruvananthapuram, police said.
Pillai, who belongs to Kerala Congress (Thomas)
faction, a constituent of the ruling LDF, was hurt on his
forehead after being hit by a stone.
Minor clashes were also reported from places like
Perithalmanna, Kayamkulam, Karunagapply and Kaipamangalam.
Police said there had been no major violence and the
overall situation was normal throughout the state. The
campaigning was by and large peaceful though it ended on an
acrimonious note with Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan calling
Rahul Gandhi an `Amul baby` in retaliation to the Congress
youth leader taking a potshot at him over his age.
The rival fronts are locked in a fierce combat in most
of the constituencies making it a close contest in the state
which had alternately voted for the LDF and UDF every five
years and where even a small swing could be decisive. A total
of 971 candidates are in the fray, a majority of them
independents. The state has a total electorate of 2.31 crore.
In Tamil Nadu, the fate of 2,773 candidates, including
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 founder Vijayakanth (Rishivandyam) will be
decided on Wednesday.
The fortnight-long electioneering saw a no-holds-
barred campaign veering around personal attacks between bitter
rivals ruling DMK and AIADMK.
Karunanidhi harped on the theme of development and
berated the EC repeatedly for its actions, accusing it of
creating an `emergency like situation`. On the other hand,
Jayalalithaa asked voters to rid the state of `family rule` of
the DMK patriarch and targeted Karunanidhi over "rampant
corruption" and "collapse" of law and order.
In the Union Territory of Puducherry, over 8.10 lakh
voters are expected to exercise their franchise to elect 30
members to the territorial assembly.
Congress has fielded its candidates in 17 segments
while main ally DMK is seeking election from 10. PMK is
contesting two while Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi one.
On the rival side, former chief minister N Rangasamy-
led All India NR Congress is contesting 17 seats while AIADMK
10. CPI, CPM and DMDK have fielded candidates in a seat each.
The main contestants are Assembly Speaker R
Radakrishnan, Chief Minister V Vaithilingam and all his five
ministerial colleagues, Puducherry unit`s DMK convener and
former chief minister RV Janakiraman, and Rangasamy, who is
chief ministerial candidate of the rival front.