Large turnout, long queues in polling booths; polling percentage at 34.38

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Large turnout of voters

Voters casting votes early morning | Mathrubhumi

Thiruvananthapuram: Over 23.8 percent voting was recorded till 10.20 am, after the first phase of polls in Kerala for 6,910 wards in 395 local body elections began in Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha and Idukki district on Tuesday at 7.00 am.

Thiruvananthapuram recorded 22 percent voting, Kollam recorded 24 percent, Pathanamthitta recorded 25 percent, while Alappuzha at 25 and Idukki recorded 23 percent voting each till 10.20 am. Voting is scheduled to conclude at 6 pm.

Kerala's three political coalitions -- CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF), Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) are in the fray in these polls.

Large turnout of voters was seen from morning itself. Prominent personalities including Suresh Gopi MP, Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala, minister Kadakampally Surendran, NK Premachandran MP, V M Sudheeran and Kummanam Rajasekharan cast their vote in their respective polling booths.

Large number of voters turned out at Pallikaavu in Kollam to exercise their right in the LSG poll | Mathrubhumi

The local body polls (Panchayats, Municipalities and Corporations) are being held under strict Covid-19 norms with voters being asked to sanitise their hands as they enter and exit the polling booths. Voters are instructed to wear masks and ensure social distance. To maintain social distance markers are used and face masks are mandatory. Only three voters are allowed inside the booth at a time.

Those arriving at the polling booth are to carry any one of the ID cards including ID card issued by state election commission or central election commission, passport, driving license, pan card, Aadhaar card, SSLC book with photo, passbook issued from a nationalised bank within 6 months.

Women in large numbers standing to cast their votes at Palimukku booth in Peyad, Thiruvananthapuram. Photo Mathrubhumi

Apart from postal ballots, Covid-19 patients are allowed to vote after regular voters cast their votes. Those testing Covid positive or instructed to go in quarantine after 3 pm on Monday, can arrive at the polling booth wearing PPE kits on Tuesday after 5 pm. This should be informed to health department and returning officer. A medical certificate issued by a doctor in government service should; be furnished.

Listed as special voters, they must arrive at the polling station before 6 pm. Polling officials and agents are instructed to wear a PPE kit before special voters can enter the polling station. All procedures applicable to ordinary voters for identification and application of ink are applicable to Special Voters. But they are asked to use the voting machine only by wearing gloves. The signature will be recorded in the voter register using a special pen.

Those treated at government-run hospitals will be taken to the polling station by the health department. Special voters living in non-government-controlled institutions or homes should come with a PPE kit at their own expense. Drivers carrying them must also wear a PPE kit, said the state election commission.

According to the state election commission there are 88,26,873 voters in the first phase, including 41,58,395 males, 46,68,267 females and 61 transgender people.

"This includes 150 NRIs and 42,530 first-time voters. As many as 11,225 polling booths have been set up. Webcasting has also been introduced in 320 problematic polling booths. A total of 56,122 personnel have been deployed for election duty. Voting is from 7 am. to 6 pm," said the Election Commission.

(With inputs from ANI)

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