Chengannur: Brisk voting has been reported from across the Chengannur assembly constituency as the bypoll is under way. Latest figures say over 40 per cent voters have cast their franchise by 1 pm. Except Puliyoor, all the 10 panchayats and the Chengannur municipality have recorded over 40 per cent of voting by noon.
As rainy clouds hovered over the skies of Chengannur, the major political camps in the assembly constituency were worried about a possible dip in the voting percentage that would affect the outcome of the pivotal bypoll. However, such fears were allayed as voters thronged the booths braving rain to exercise their franchise. Long queues were seen in various polling booths in the constituency with men and women turning up in equal numbers. "Rain will come and go, but we won't get the opportunity to vote for this election again," said Narayanan, a voter, standing at the fag end of a queue of around 50 people.
The enthusiasm of the voters to participate in the election was visible as women and elderly people made their way to the polling booths amid continuous drizzle. The despair of an elderly woman who came to a booth on the suburbs of Chengannur after she could not find her name in the voters' list stood testimony to the robust spirit of democracy that has been manifested among the voters here. "I came here to vote for my party. I have been attending all their rallies for years. How can I return without voting for my party?," she was heard asking locals leaders of a prominent party. Later party leaders told Onmanorama that her name was on the list for another booth and she would vote there.
Prathapan, a local leader of the CPM, told Onmanorama that rain was unlikely to affect the voting. However, he said that there could be a slight dip in the polling percentage since it would be difficult for the elderly and ailing people to come to the booths if the rain continues intensely.
Sources in the CPM, Congress and BJP said they would be arranging vehicles for the voters who can't afford to hire cabs to reach booths if rain persisted. CPM sources believe that a higher turnout of voters may be in favour of them. "That's an old theory. We can't rely on such speculations nowadays," rebutted another CPM leader.
There are 1,99,340 voters in the constituency. Voting was on in 164 polling booths. As many as 17 auxiliary booths have also been set up.
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