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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Polling begins in Puthupally Assembly seat


 Polling began at 0700 hrs on Tuesday in the Puthupally Assembly constituency here in Kerala amid tight security.

The fate of the seven candidates contesting the bypoll will be decided by 1,76,417 voters, including 90,281 females and 4 transgenders.

Polling is underway in all 182 booths, as 872 polling officials and 675 police personnel were deputed for the smooth conduct of the voting.

Meanwhile, voters in large numbers turned up to cast their votes at almost all the polling stations from the morning onward.

LDF candidate Jaick C Thomas cast his vote at the Manarcadu LP School, while UDF candidate Chandy Oommen cast his vote at the Georgian Public School in Puthuppally. BJP candidate Lijin Lal has no votes in the constituency.

The bypoll to the Assembly seat was necessitated due to the demise of senior Congress leader and former two-time Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, who represented the Assembly constituency for the last 53 years.

Chandy Oommen, son of former chief minister Oommen Chandy who died on July 18, is the candidate for the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF).

The ruling CPM-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) fielded Jaick C Thomas as its candidate, who contested against the former chief minister twice.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) fielded the party’s Kottayam district president, G. Lijin Lal, as its candidate. Lijin Lal, who contested from Kaduthuruthy Assembly constituency in the previous election, settled in third position.

An Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate and three independent contestants are also in the fray.

Out of 8 panchayats, the ruling CPI (M) won 6 panchayats in the previous local body elections.

The counting of votes will be held on September 8 at 8 am at Baselius College, where a total of 20 tables were arranged for the counting.

A Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) along with Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) are being used at every polling booth.

Before starting the actual poll, a mock poll was conducted at every polling booth in the presence of the polling agents of the candidates, and the electronic results of the Control Unit and the VVPAT slip count were tallied and shown to them.

Visually challenged people can cast their vote without depending on others. Dummy ballot papers in Braille script were arranged in every booth. Voting facilities for the disabled and senior citizens are provided at the polling stations.

The Pinarayi Vijayan-led Left Government came to power for a second consecutive term by winning 99 seats out of the 140 Assembly seats in 2021, compared to 91 seats in the 2016 Assembly election, altering the four-decade-long electoral tradition in Kerala.

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