With stage set for key byelection to Erode (East) Assembly seat on Monday — the first after DMK returned to power after a gap of ten years in May 2021 with a resounding victory and its president MK Stalin becoming the Chief Minister for the first time — security checks have been intensified in the constituency with central forces deployed in sensitive booths.
“Teams of police and flying squads conducted checks in lodges, hostels and marriage halls to ensure that outsiders have left the constituency. Flying squads are maintaining round the clock vigil. Central forces are deployed in 32 sensitive booths and those with over 1,200 voters,” said District Collector and Election Officer H Krishnanunni, monitoring the dispatch of EVMs kept in corporation safety rooms to polling centres.
Both the ruling DMK-led Secular Progressive Alliance (SPA) and the main Opposition AIADMK-led Front has been stating that the outcome of the bypoll would reflect in the next year’s Lok Sabha polls.
The main contestants are Elangovan of Congress and two-time MLA KS Thennarasu of AIADMK, while actor-politician Vijayakanth-led DMDK and Naam Tamizhar Katchi) headed by Seeman are also in the fray.
A victory for AIADMK, riddled with the leadership row, would reaffirm party’s Interim General Secretary and former chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami the undisputed leader of the party after the Supreme Court, a couple of days back, validated all the decisions taken at the July 11 last year’s General Council (GC) meeting.
The Collector said a three-tier security has been put in place at Government College of Engineering in Chithode, where votes will be counted on March 2.
“The counting centre and strongrooms, where EVMs are to be stored will be monitored round the clock through web cameras linked to control rooms. All vehicles entering through Karungalpalayam check post and 12 check posts set up across the constituency are being screened,” he said.
“We have received 796 complaints of election code violations, and several cases are also filed,” he added.