Kerala local-body second-phase polling underway

Ernakulam MP Hibi Eden and his wife Anna after voting at a polling booth in Kochi (Photo: Facebook @Hibi Eden)

Ahead of the Assembly elections next year, the local-body polls are crucial for the three major alliances that dominate Kerala politics

The second phase of the Kerala local-body polls on Thursday,  crucial for the ruling CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF), Congress-headed United Democratic Front (UDF) and BJP led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), are underway in five districts.

The polls are being seen as crucial ahead of the Assembly elections to take place next year. In the 2015 local-body elections, BJP won 34 out of 100 wards in Thiruvananthapuram corporation, a dramatic rise from 2010 when it had secured just four seats.

A total of 98,57,208 voters including 51,28,361 women and 93 transgenders, would exercise their franchise to elect representatives for 8,116 wards of 451 local bodies in Kottayam, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Palakkad and Wayanad districts.

A polling booth in Kochi. Courtesy: The News Minute

Two Corporations-Kochi and Thrissur, 36 municipalities, 350 village panchayats, 58 block panchayats and five district panchayats are among the local bodies where the second phase polling is being held.

According to an official update, 23.33 per cent polling was recorded in the five districts at 10 AM.

Polling was generally peaceful in all the five districts so far and the voting procedure was smooth except for technical snag in voting machines reported in some districts.

As the entire election procedure was in compliance with COVID-19 protocols, masks, sanitising and social distancing norms were made mandatory at all polling stations. In Ernakulum district, a robot was seen giving sanitisers to reporters according to The Times of India Kochi.

After the first phase of the polls, held in Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Alappuzha, Pathanamthitta and Idukki on December 8, all the three traditional fronts including LDF, UDF and BJP-NDA have expressed confidence about their victory.

Voters, who have tested positive for the viral infection or those placed under quarantine after 3 PM on Wednesday, would be allowed to cast votes in their respective booths in the evening after all the voters have exercised their franchise, official sources said.

By  noon, over 43 per cent voter turnout has been recorded.

Source: PTI

Edited by: Suyashi Smridhi