Heavy rain affects voting in Ernakulam

Representative image

Heavy rains affected voting in Ernakulam Assembly constituency in the initial hours as voters waded through water-logged roads to exercise their franchise on Monday, while in the four other constituencies where by-elections are being held, polling went off smoothly.

Chief Electoral Officer Teeka Ram Meena told reporters here that as of now, there was no situation that warrants postponing the by-poll in Ernakulam.

Though water entered some polling booths, all arrangements have been made to conduct polling smoothly, he said adding 10 water-logged booths on the ground floor in Ernakulam had been shifted to the first floor.

"We are observing the situation. If voting has begun late in some booths we will consult the Election Commission to find out if voting time can be extended beyond 6 p.m," he said.

In Konni, there was some concern in the morning, but it was not an alarming situation, he said.

The CEO said people should come to polling booths even if there are difficulties.

Except for Manjeshwaram in Kasaragod district, it had been raining since this morning in the constituencies of Konni, Vattiyoorkavu, and Aroor, but the worst affected was Kochi city and nearby areas in Ernakulam.

Voters waded through knee-deep water in some booths in waterlogged Kochi city and vehicles kept off the roads.

Water had also entered some booths.

The polling percentage at noon in Manjeswharam was 29.5 per cent, while it 16.3 per cent in Ernakulam. In Aroor, it was 26.9 per cent, while Konni and Vattiyoorkavu recorded 27.2 per cent and 25 per cent respectively.

A woman voter in Kochi said this was the first time people had to exercise their franchise wading through knee-deep muddy water at Ayyappankavu.

A 92-year old man, who was not allowed to vote as he carried only a copy of his voter ID, returned with all his identity cards to vote despite the rains.

The strength of the voters in the 5 constituencies is 9.57 lakh.

The ruling CPI(M)-led LDF, opposition Congress headed UDF and BJP-led NDA are the three fronts that have locked horns for the five seats. 

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