Kerala civic polls: 16% turnout in 2 hrs in Phase I
Thiruvananthapuram: Over 16 per cent polling were recorded in the initial two hours in the first phase of elections to the local bodies in five districts of Kerala on Tuesday morning, amid fears in many quarters about the impact of Covid on voting percentage.
Polling began for local bodies in Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, and Idukki districts at 7 am to decide the fate of 24,584 candidate in fray. It will end at 6 pm.
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 15 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 will be manned by 56,122 officials.