Kerala local body elections: Phase 3 of polling underway

South India

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was seen voting at a polling station in Pinarayi, Kannur in the early hours of Monday morning.


The third phase of the local body polls which is crucial for the traditional fronts in Kerala- the ruling CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front, Congress-headed United Democratic Front and BJP-NDA, got underway on Monday. 

Polling for 6,867 wards in 354 local bodies across Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur and Kasaragod began at 7 am and will close at 6 pm. 

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was seen voting at a polling station in Pinarayi, Kannur in the early hours of Monday morning.

According to State Election Commission (SEC) V Bhaskaran, there are 89,74,993 voters in the final round, including 42,87,597 men, 46,87,310 women and 86 transgenders. This includes 71,906 first-time voters and 1,747 NRI voters. 

As many as 10,842 polling booths have been set up. Webcasting has also been introduced in 1,105 problematic polling booths. A total of 52,285 officers have been deployed for the election duty.

Following the death of the candidates, the polls in Tathur Poyil (11) in Kozhikode Mavoor Grama Panchayat and Thillankeri (7) in Kannur District Panchayat has been postponed. 

Kerala recorded 76.38 per cent voter turnout in the 2nd phase of local body elections held in five districts, last week, according to the state election commission. 36,72,206 men, 38,51,350 women and 15 transgenders exercised their franchise.

The first of the three-phase election in the state witnessed a voter turnout of 72.67 per cent, with 98,57,208 voters participants, including 51,28,361 females, 47,28,489 males, 93 transgenders and 265 NRIs.

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. 

As per the report, 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.

According to the report, 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.

Votes will be counted on December 16.

Image credit: ANI

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