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Kerala's higher voter turnout due to Sabarimala rap?

Last Updated : 01 May 2019, 11:19 IST

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Kerala recorded a high polling percentage in recent times, indicating voters may have strongly reacted to poll issues like Sabarimala entry for women of all ages, floods and anti-incumbency factors.

Wayanad from where Congress president Rahul Gandhi is contesting also witnessed a higher polling of around 80 %, triggering hopes in the Congress camp of a thumping victory by more than three lakh votes.
Political analysts and Kerala University assistant professor C A Josukutty said that the increasing voter turnout indicated strong response of voters to the major poll issues. It could be Sabarimala women's entry issue, anti-BJP or anti-incumbency factors. Minority voters consolidation and Hindu consolidation could have also probably happened, he said.
Kerala recorded 74.02 % polling in 2014 and 73.37 % in 2009 Lok Sabha polls. The highest polling recorded in Kerala LS polls was said to be 79.3 % in 1989, and 79.2 in 1977. In Assembly elections, the polling had even crossed 80 %.
While the BJP hopes that the high voter turnout was in their favour for opposing women's entry at Sabarimala, the Congress camp feels that it was Rahul Gandhi effect as well as anti-incumbency factors against the Centre and Kerala governments. The Left-front is hopeful that the higher voter turnout would not favour the BJP. "The BJP would be pushed to third place in all 20 seats," Kerala Chief Minister and senior CPM leader Pinarayi Vijayan said.

Wayanad records a high

In Wayanad, the polling percentage touched 80 % by evening, which is the highest after the constituency was formed in 2009. It was 73.29 in 2014. The initial voter turnout in the pro-Congress assembly segments of the constituency was not impressive. Toward the last few hours, the voter turnout in these IUML strongholds increased.
AICC senior leader A K Antony and Kerala opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala expressed high hopes of a thumping victory for Congress in Kerala.

Women up BJP hopes

Thiruvananthapuram, Pathanamthitta and even Thrissur, where the BJP has high hopes, witnessed higher voter turnout. "The number of women who turned out at many Hindu dominant constituencies was very high and it obviously brightens our hopes," said a BJP source.
The voter turnout in the coastal areas of Thiruvananthapuram, which are generally considered to be Congress strongholds, was not that impressive in the initial hours. But towards evening it increased, giving hopes to Congress’ Shashi Tharoor, who is eyeing a hat-trick.
In several places, electronic voting machines developed technical snags. In Kochi, Cardinal Mar George Alencherry of the Syro Malabar church had to return without voting as polling was stalled for more than an hour owing to EVM snags. Even the Chief Minister had to wait for some time at his polling booth in Kannur owing to EVM snag.
Six voters died across the state during the polling process. The deceased were in the 60 to 90 age group. There was no major violence during the polls.
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Published 23 April 2019, 16:34 IST

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