Rain mars bypolls in Kerala, voter turnout at 70 per cent

Polling Booth
The Pallithodu St Sebastian polling booth in a flooded state.

Thiruvananthapuram: The bypolls to the five assembly constituencies in Kerala were marred by heavy rains, especially in Ernakulam, with the tentative overall voter turnout touching 70 per cent.

No untoward incidents were reported, officials said.

As per the tentative figures, Aroor recorded the highest turnout of 80.47 per cent till around 7 pm, government sources said, adding heavy rains marred  polling in Ernakulam where the voter turnout was the lowest-- 57.89 per cent.

While the voter turnout in Manjeshwaram touched 75.82 per cent, in Konni it was 70.07 per cent and Vattiyoorkavu 62.66 per cent, the sources said.

A woman was arrested in Manjeshwaram in Kasaragod for impersonation as she allegedly tried to cast bogus vote in a booth.

She was later released on bail.

As voting drew to a close at 6 PM, people in queues in various booths were allowed to vote.

Heavy rains affected voting in the early hours in Ernakulam as voters waded through water-logged roads to exercise their franchise and water seeped into some booths, while polling progressed in the four other constituencies.

Chief Electoral officer Teeka Ram Meena said 10 water-logged booths on the ground floor were shifted to the first floor in Kochi.

Voting in Ernakulam was not affected, he said.

Except Manjeshwaram, the constituencies of Konni, Vattiyoorkavu and Aroor were also affected by rains till noon, but worst hit was Kochi city and nearby areas in Ernakulam.

A woman voter in Kochi said this was the first time people had to exercise their franchise wading through knee-deep muddy water at Ayyappankavu.

A 92-year-old man, who was not allowed to vote as he carried only a copy of his voter ID, returned with all his identity cards to vote despite the rains.

The electorate strength in the five constituencies is 9.57 lakh.

The ruling CPI(M)-led LDF, opposition Congress headed UDF and BJP-led NDA are the three fronts which had locked horns for the five seats.

While the bypoll to Majeshwaram was held following the death of the sitting MLA of the IUML, a coalition partner of the UDF, in the remaining four constituencies, the polls were necessitated after legislators quit following their successful foray into the Lok Sabha.

In the 140-member Kerala assembly, the ruling LDF has 92 MLAs, UDF 46, BJP one, besides an independent MLA, P C George.

One seat is reserved for a nominated member of the Anglo Indian community.

Voter turnout:

Manjeswaram - 75.82%

Aroor – 80.47%

Konni - 70.07%

Vattiyoorkavu - 62.66%

Ernakulam - 57.89%

As many as 9,57,509 voters, including 4,91,455 women and 4,66,047 men, were eligible to vote. A total of 896 polling stations were set up in the constituencies.

Triangular fight in Kerala bypolls

In Vattiyoorkavu, the top three contenders were Congress' Mohan Kumar, CPM VK Prasanth and BJP's S Suresh. In Konni, Congress candidate P Mohanraj, CPM's P U Janeesh Kumar and BJP's K Surendran were the top contenders in the fray. Congress leader Shanimol Usman, CPM's Manu C Pulickal and BJP's Prakash Babu were in the fray in Aroor.

In Ernakulam, Congress' T J Vinod took on LDF independent Manu Roy and BJP's C G Rajagopal. Manjeswaram witnessed a tough fight among Indian Union Muslim League's M C Kamarudheen, CPM's M Shankar Rai and BJP's Ravisha Tantri Kuntar.

Barring Aroor, the other four seats are held by the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) at present.

Many believe that CPI(M)-led LDF will benefit if the voter turnout is low as the traditional Congress-led UDF voters prefer to remain indoors during rain.

The Maharashtra and Haryana state assembly elections were also held on Monday.

The comments posted here/below/in the given space are not on behalf of Onmanorama. The person posting the comment will be in sole ownership of its responsibility. According to the central government's IT rules, obscene or offensive statement made against a person, religion, community or nation is a punishable offense, and legal action would be taken against people who indulge in such activities.