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IndiaLS polls: Kerala records 70.22 per cent turnout

LS polls: Kerala records 70.22 per cent turnout


Thiruvananthapuram, Apr 26: Despite heightened political fervour and anticipation about the general elections for the 20 Lok Sabha seats in Kerala, the process concluded on Friday with a notable decrease in voter turnout, as the figure stands at 70.22 per cent.

This figure, while significant, is quite a drop from the polling percentage of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

At 8 pm, the state recorded 70.22 per cent turnout, which compared to 77.84 per cent in 2019, falls short by over 7 per cent.

However, the final figures may vary, as despite the official time for polling ending at 6 pm, huge crowds were seen in several polling booths in various Lok Sabha constituencies including Vatakara, Ponnani, Thiruvananthapuram, Idukki and Kasaragod.

Kerala has around 2.77 crore registered voters, and 194 candidates contested this time from the 20 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state.

Two union ministers, most of the current MPs, a state minister, three actors and a few MLAs are among the candidates who tried their political luck this time in Kerala, which saw intense and aggressive poll campaigns by the CPI(M)-led ruling LDF, Congress-headed UDF, and the BJP-led NDA.

Polling was carried out amidst tight security arrangements, which included deployment of over 66,000 security personnel and live monitoring of the election process by an extensive webcasting system.

Voting began at 7 am after a mock poll was carried out by casting votes in favour of all candidates, including NOTA, listed on an electronic voting machine (EVM).

However, during the day, technical glitches and breakdowns in EVMs as well as instances of bogus voting were reported from several booths in the state, leading to long delays which in turn resulted in huge queues towards the end of the day.

Voters complained to reporters about the delays caused by technical glitches, referring to which Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly V D Satheesan said that elections in the state were not free and fair.

He blamed the allegedly slow working pace and negligence of election officials for the long delays at some booths, and said that polling hours were not extended in booths where EVMs were faulty.

Satheesan demanded an inquiry into the manner in which polling was carried out in the state.

The ruling CPI(M), on the other hand, was silent on these issues and, in a statement, contended that polling in Kerala was completed peacefully after overcoming the “false propaganda of the UDF and the BJP” as well as alleged attempts at violence and use of liquor and money to “sabotage” the elections.

The party said that the people have responded positively towards the state government's developmental and welfare activities and that it will reflect in the polling and the results that will be declared on June 4.

As polling progressed during the day, eligible voters of all ages continued to queue up outside the over 25,000 polling booths in the state, braving the rising temperatures, to cast their vote.

Several couples who were getting married on polling day turned up to cast their votes, either before or after their wedding ceremonies.

During the first hour of polling, the voter turnout was close to 6% and thereafter, every hour saw an increase of 6% to 7%.

According to the figures provided by the Election Commission at 8 pm, the highest turnout was in Kannur constituency in northern Kerala at 75.57 per cent with Alappuzha coming second at 74.25 per cent.

Meanwhile, eight persons died in the state of possible heat stroke or other heat-related issues, amidst polling, in various constituencies, including Palakkad, Alappuzha and Malappuram.

There is no official confirmation on the cause of these deaths.

In Palakkad, the temperature hit a high of 41.54 degrees Celsius, in Alappuzha 33.86, Malappuram 35.78, and Kozhikode 31.73 with relative humidity of 71.69 per cent in this northern Kerala district, according to the Meteorological Department.

Earlier in the day, prominent persons, including senior politicians and poll candidates, as well as popular actors and heads of churches, exercised their franchise and urged everyone to vote.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Leader of Opposition Satheesan, BJP state chief K Surendran, as well as Congress's K C Venugopal and Shafi Parambil were seen casting their votes early in the morning.

Besides them, Congress stalwart A K Antony, KPCC President K Sudhakaran, LDF Convenor E P Jayarajan and CPI(M)'s Thomas Isaac also exercised their franchise in the morning.

Leaders of the CPI(M)-led LDF, Congress-led UDF and the BJP-led NDA claimed that their respective fronts would create history in the state.

Vijayan claimed that Kerala would “gift” a historic win to the LDF, a sentiment echoed by other Left leaders who all said that the BJP was never accepted by the people of the state and would not win a single seat.

He said that even the Congress-led UDF would not win any seats as the people are unhappy with them.

However, the Congress leaders claimed that there is an anti-incumbency wave against the Centre and the Left government in Kerala and therefore, the Congress would win all 20 seats.

BJP's Surendran said the people would vote for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his “development agenda”.

The results of the nationwide will be announced on June 4.

The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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