Kerala Local Body polls: Voting for 1st phase underway in five districts
Over 6 per cent voting was recorded till 8.00 am, an hour after the first phase of polls in Kerala for 6,910 wards in 395 local body elections began in Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha and Idukki district on Tuesday at 7.00 am.
As per State Election Commission, Thiruvananthapuram recorded 5.68 per cent voting, Kollam recorded 6.04 per cent, Pathanamthitta recorder 6.64 per cent, while Alappuzha and Idukki recorded 6.30 per cent voting each till 8.00 am. Voting is scheduled to conclude at 6 pm.
Kerala's three political coalitions -- CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF), Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) are in the fray in these polls.
Bharatiya Janata Party leader Kummanam Rajasekharan voted in the first phase of local body polls from Thiruvananthapuram.
After casting his vote, Rajasekharan said, "We can see that NDA has come up. The mass support they are gaining in this election will pave way for getting the administration of this local body."
According to the state election commission there are 88,26,873 voters in the first phase, including 41,58,395 males, 46,68,267 females and 61 transgender people.
"This includes 150 NRIs and 42,530 first-time voters. As many as 11,225 polling booths have been set up. Webcasting has also been introduced in 320 problematic polling booths. A total of 56,122 personnel have been deployed for election duty. Voting is from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m," said the Election Commission.
The local body polls (Panchayats, Municipalities and Corporations) are being held under strict Covid-19 norms with voters being asked to sanitise their hands as they enter and exit the polling booths.To maintain social distance markers are used and face masks are mandatory. Only three voters are allowed inside the booth at a time.
Apart from postal ballots, Covid-19 patients are allowed to vote after regular voters cast their votes. Listed as special voters, they must arrive at the polling station before 6 pm. Polling officials and agents are instructed to wear a PPE kit before special voters can enter the polling station. All procedures applicable to ordinary voters for identification and application of ink are applicable to Special Voters. But they are asked to use the voting machine only by wearing gloves. The signature will be recorded in the voter register using a special pen.
Those treated at government-run hospitals will be taken to the polling station by the health department. Special voters living in non-government-controlled institutions or homes should come with a PPE kit at their own expense. Drivers carrying them must also wear a PPE kit, said the state election commission.