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Home » IANS » Kerala local polls: 50% voting by late afternoon in Phase 1

Kerala local polls: 50% voting by late afternoon in Phase 1

By IANS
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Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 8 (IANS) Around 50 per cent overall polling was recorded by late afternoon in the first phase of elections to the local bodies in five southern districts of Kerala on Tuesday morning, amid fears in many quarters about the impact of Covid-19 on the voting percentage.

The polling percentage in Thiruvananthapuram was 47 per cent, and Kollam (51), Pathanamthitta (51), Alappuzha (53), and Idukki (52).

The poll began at 7 am to decide the fate of 24,584 candidate in fray, and will end at 6 pm.

Five central districts will go to polls on December 10 and four northern districts on December 14. Counting of votes will take place on December 16.

With close to 60,000 active coronavirus cases in the state, the last hour of polling has been dedicated to Covid-19 patients who have been allowed to come in PPE kits to cast their votes. Even polling officials will wear PPE kits during this period.

Across the five districts, polling for panchayats, municipalities and corporations was brisk though no big queues were seen. In the hilly district of Idukki, polling above 50 per cent come as a surprise to many.

At Ranni in Pathanamthitta district, the grandfather of a panchayat election candidate collapsed and passed away soon after he cast his vote. The dead was identified as 90- year-old P Mathai.

Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala cast his vote along with his family members at his home town in Alappuzha and claimed that the fate of Pinarayi Vijayan government would be sealed.

“We (UDF) are going to score a big win as the people of Kerala will hand us victory. The BJP as always will make no impact. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is in hiding and has to break his silence on those involved in gold smuggling case. The path is now laid out for the return of UDF rule in the next Assembly elections. The curtain raiser is taking place today,” said Chennithala.

Soon after casting her vote, Fisheries Minister and senior CPI-M leader J Mercykutty Amma said that it was very clear that the people will give a verdict in favour of a government that cared. “Neither the Congress nor the BJP will make any impact as we are going to win,” said Amma.

The principal contestants include candidates from three major political fronts — LDF led by CPI-M, Congress-led UDF, and BJP-led NDA.

Across the state, in the 2015 local body polls, the Left won around 60 per cent of the total seats, followed by the Congress, while the BJP won a mere 1,200 seats out of around 21,000 seats in three tiers of local bodies.

Across the five districts, 11,225 polling stations have been set up for the electorate that includes 41,58,341 men, 46,68,209 women and 70 transgenders. The election process is being manned by 56,122 officials.

–IANS

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(This story has not been edited by Newsd staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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