Cong prez poll: 96% turnout nationwide, in Kerala all but 13 cast vote

Congress party leaders in Kerala waiting to cast their votes to elect the party’s national president on Monday. Photo: Manoj Chemancheri

Thiruvananthapuram: Thirteen of the total 310 voters from Kerala who are eligible to elect the Congress president could not turn up for casting their votes at the party headquarters here on Monday. Nationwide, 96% turnout was recorded out of the total 9,308 voters.

Among the Kerala voters, two who are participating in the Bharat Jodo Yatra led by Rahul Gandhi, MP, and five others who are engaged in polling duties in other states voted outside Kerala.

Vidhya Balakrishnan and Anil Bose voted along with Rahul Gandhi at Bellari in Karnataka. Shanimol Usman, Neyyattinkara Sanal, Johnson Abraham, Hibi Eden and Rajmohan Unnithan cast their votes in the respective states where they are engaged as polling officers.

Vayalar Ravi, K P Unnikrishnan, K M A Salam, P P Thankachan, T H Musthafa, P K Aboobacker Haji, K P Vishwanathan, K Achuthan, A D Musthafa could not reach Indira Bhavan owing to illnesses.

Aryadan Mohammed, Prathapa Varma Thampan and Punalur Madhu are three deceased in the voters list. V M Sudheeran and Karakulam Krishnapilla were not able to turn up as they are abroad. Suresh Elayavoor from Kannur could not vote as his name had changed in the list. Eldhose Kunnappilly, another voter, who has been named as accused in a sexual assault case too didn't turn up. He has been absconding ever since he was booked in the case.

The remaining 287 voters reached Indira Bhavan, the Congress Head Quarters in the State, and cast their votes to elect the party’s national president on Monday.

The two candidates are Shashi Tharoor, MP, and senior leader Mallikarjun Kharge.

Get-together of leaders
The Congress presidential election which is being held after 22 years turned out to be a get-together for the senior leaders. Thampanoor Ravi, who signed the nomination papers of Shashi Tharoor first, voted first in one of the two polling booths at Indira Bhavan.

A K Antony, Oommen Chandy, K Sudhakaran, K C Venugopal, V D Satheeshan and other leaders stood in a queue together and cast their votes.

The group of youth leaders of the Congress party came together to receive Shashi Tharoor, who reached at 10.45 am after his visit to the Ganapathy Temple at Pazhavangadi. M K Raghavan, MP, who publicly declared his support to Tharoor, stood by him through the polling time at Indira Bhavan.

After the voting was complete at 4 in the evening, the ballot papers were shifted to another box in the presence of the polling agents and sealed. The two polling officers took the sealed box to Delhi by flight.  

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