Polling for the Assembly by-poll in the Alappuzha constituency began on Saturday with about 15 per cent of the voters turning up at the booth in the first two hours of voting.

The by-poll, necessitated after sitting legislator K.C. Venugopal was elected to the Parliament in April, is on in the 50 wards of the Alappuzha Municipality, which after delimitation constitutes the Alappuzha Assembly segment.

With both the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) and the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) throwing all their might behind their candidates, election pundits had predicted a tight match and the first hours of polling showed signs of a decent voting percentage.

District Collector and Electoral Officer P. Venugopal, talking to The Hindu said he had gone around the constituency this morning, visiting sensitive booths, where personnel from the Karnataka Police

battalion and the State police have been deployed. “Polling is going on very smoothly and we have estimated that 15 per cent of the votes have been polled by 10 a.m. after voting began at 8 a.m. There have been no complaints about the electronic voting machines, nor have there been reports of law and order problems,” Mr. Venugopal said.

Enthusiastic crowds were seen at most of the 104 booths, with Long queues at booths set up in the Mohammedan’s Government School, the Leo XIII School, the Islamic Study Circle centre at Vattappally, a few booths in the Kommadi and Aryad regions and the Nehru Trophy ward.

With rough weather and heavy winds being predicted, authorities have made alternate electricity supply arrangements anticipating a cut in the power supply, the Collector informed.

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