Keralites all set to exercise their franchise

Keralites all set to exercise their franchise

Keralites all set to exercise their franchise

Kerala will go to poll on Monday, with the final electoral roll of the state standing at over 2.6 crore voters.

The Assembly election will be held in the state’s 140 constituencies; the Election Commission has set up 21,498 polling stations and 148 auxiliary polling stations. A total of 1,203 candidates are in the fray.

Speaking with reporters here on Sunday, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) E K Majhi said special arrangements were in place for sensitive and vulnerable polling stations. “Apart from the CAPF (Central Armed Police Forces) security, webcasting will be done in 3,137 polling stations,” he said. A total of 52,000 state police personnel have been drafted for poll duty, apart from CAPF personnel.

The CEO said the state has witnessed a relatively high rate of seizure of unaccounted money and material during the poll campaign. Surveillance squads seized Rs 23.78 crore, 23 kg of gold and 11,540.26 litres of liquor as part of the expense-monitoring drive. The office of the CEO had also initiated programmes to increase awareness on voting. Majhi said the commission expected the average voter turnout, in recent elections in Kerala about 75%, to go up to 80%. The Meteorological Centre in Thiruvananthapuram has predicted heavy rain in parts of Kerala on polling day.

About 3.91 lakh voters were added after conclusion of electoral roll updates, taking the total number of voters to 260,19,284. For the first time in Kerala, 2 third-gender voters, from Palakkad and Thrissur, figure in the electoral roll. The Election Commission of India, considering the state’s population density, has permitted a maximum of 1,750 voters per polling station as against 1,200 to 1,500 in other states.

Focus on Kannur

The EC has made special arrangements for the politically sensitive Kannur district. Micro-observers will be posted at critical and vulnerable polling stations in the district. CPM Polit bureau member Pinarayi Vijayan, contesting from Dharmadam, is among prominent candidates in the fray in Kannur.

“Issues pertaining to the district were brought to the notice of the EC and a special meeting was held to discuss these issues. Measures are in place to ensure that there are no complaints on bogus voting or otherwise,” the CEO said.