Kerala civic polls: Low turnout as polling gets underway

Polling in the first phase to local bodies in seven districts in Kerala began on Saturday on a slow pace and an average of 15 to 17 per cent voting was reported in the initial hours.

Thiruvananthapuram: Polling in the first phase
to local bodies in seven districts in Kerala began on Saturday on
a slow pace and an average of 15 to 17 per cent voting was
reported in the initial hours.

Thiruvananthapuram, Kolllam,Pathanthitta, Kozhikode,
Waynad, Kannur and Kasargod are the districts going to
polls today, where more than one crore voters are expected
to cast their votes.

The ruling CPI-M led LDF and Congress headed UDF Opposition
and BJP are the main contenders in the civic polls.

According to police highest percentage of polling was
reported from Kasargod 16, followed by Kannur 15 and
Thiruvananthapuram 14.

Polling was peaceful so far and no untoward incident was
reported from any part of the state, police said. Tight
security had been put in place in sensitive booths in
politically sentisitve Kannur and Kozhikode districts, police
said.

In some of the city booths voters could cast their votes in
five minutes as there was no rush of voters.

Out of five city corporations, fate of Thiruvananthapuram,
Kollam and Kozhikode would be decided today, while that of
Kochi and Thrissur on October 25. All the corporations are
now under the control of CPI-M led LDF.

In the second phase, polling would be in Idukki, Kottayam,
Alappuzha, Ernakulam, Thrissur,Palakkad and Malappuram on
October 25.

Counting would take place on October 27 and new councils
would take charge on November 1, the Kerala formation day.

Electronic voting machines were used in municipalities and
corporations where as ballot boxes in three-tier panchayats.

Local body polls in the state is seen as a semi-final
contest between the CPI-M led ruling LDF and Congress headed
UDF Opposition, as election to state Assembly was due in May
next year.

PTI

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