Kerala records 72% voter turnout in first phase of local body polls

Kerala records 72% voter turnout in first phase of local body polls

Thiruvananthapuram: Amid the COVID-19 pandemic,the first phase of the three-tier local body polls in Kerala concluded on a peaceful note on Tuesday with a turnout of 72.67 per cent recorded in five districts, with the ruling CPI(M)-led LDF,Congress-headed UDF and BJP-NDA locking horns in a majority of wards. As per the latest details issued by the state election commission, Alappuzha recorded the highest percentage of voter turnout with 77.23 per cent, while Pathanamthitta recorded 69.70, the lowest in the five districts.

Thiruvananthapuram recorded 69.76 per cent votes, Kollam 73.41 and 74.56 per cent was the voters turnout in Idukki district. A total of 24,583 candidates were in the fray, trying their electoral luck in 6,910 wards of 395 local bodies in the districts-Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta,Alappuzha and Idukki.

Two Corporations- Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam, 20 municipalities, 318 village panchayats, 50 block panchayats and 5 district panchayats are among the local bodies where the first phase polling is being held. While state Ministers Kadakampally Surendran and A C Moideen expressed confidence about the Left Front's victory, Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said a strong wave in favour of the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) was witnessed.

"This shows that people have come out in large numbers to vote against the Left government," Chennithala claimed. "The recent controversies will not make any impact on the winning prospects of the ruling front," Moideen said.

Former Mizoram Governor Kummanam Rajasekharan asserted that the BJP would emerge victorious in the polls.

Braving rains, long queues of voters including women could be seen in many wards of Thiruvananthapuram in the initial hours since the voting began on 7.00 am.

Cutting across villages and cities, voters could be seen wearing masks and maintaining social distance adhering to COVID-19 protocol.

According to the SEC, a total of 88, 26,873 voters including 46,68,267 women and 61 transgenders are there in the five districts.

The list also includes 150 NRI voters and 42,530 maiden voters.

The voting machines were sealed and brought to the strong rooms and the counting would be held on December 16.

The second phase of the elections in Ernakulam, Kottayam, Thrissur, Palakkad and Wayanad would be held on December 10 and the third phase in four districts--Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur and Kasaragod on December 14.

Meanwhile, Kerala Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Teeka Ram Meena could not casthis vote for the first phase of the local body polls as his name was not on the voters list. Meena, who was supposed to cast his vote in the Poojapuraward of Thiruvananthapuram Corporation, noticed his name missing when he reachedthe polling station.

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