Second phase of Kerala civic polls tomorrow

The districts going to the polls tomorrow are Alappuzha, Kottayam, Idukki, Ernakulam, Thrissur,Palakkad and Malappuram.

Last Updated: Oct 24, 2010, 19:28 PM IST

Thiruvananthapuram: The second and concluding phase of civic polls in Kerala, spread over seven districts, would be held on Sunday, amid a slanging match between the Congress and the CPI-M over violence in north Kerala during the first leg of voting held on Saturday.

The districts going to the polls tomorrow are Alappuzha, Kottayam, Idukki, Ernakulam, Thrissur,Palakkad and Malappuram.

A high 75.72 percent of voting was recorded in the first phase of polling yesterday, marred by stray violence in parts of Kannur and other politically volatile pockets in the northern districts.

The civic polls scene turned murkier today with the top leaders of the CPI-M and the Congress engaging in a slinging match over yesterday`s violence.

Congress leader and Union Minister of state for Home, Mullappally Ramachandran, alleged that what had happened in Kannur and some other parts of North Kerala was the result of a CPI-M conspiracy in which state Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan had a role.

Balakrishnan hit back at the Union Minister terming his charge as "utterly absurd and without based on any factual evidence" and dared him to come out with tangible proof to
substantiate his allegations.

With the state Assembly elections just six months away, the campaign for the local bodies had assumed a serious dimension with the ruling LDF and the Congress-ld UDF putting all efforts to demonstrate their political clout at the grass roots level.

A distinct feature of civic contests this time is that 50 percent of the seats in three-tier panchayats and urban bodies have been reserved for women.

The voting to be held tomorrow include the city corporations of Kochi and Thrissur.

PTI