An average polling of 30 per cent has been registered till noon in the first phase of the local body elections which began at 7 a.m. on Saturday morning. Complaints of booth-capturing have been reported from Kannur district. The State Election Commission has directed the Kannur District Collector to submit a report on the complaints of booth-capturing against CPI(M) workers at Pattuvam grama panchayat in the district.

Commission sources told The Hindu here that the direction has been given in the wake of complaints from the UDF workers. According to official estimates, the average polling in the State 12 noon was 30 per cent.

Thiruvananthapuram corporation recorded the lowest polling percentage of 25 per cent till noon. Till 8 a.m. it lingered at 8 per cent and gradually rose to 15 per cent by 11.30 a.m.. The highest of 30 and 35 per cent were recorded in Kannur and Kasargod. The polling percentage touched 25 per cent in Wayanad till noon.

The seeming indifference of voters in the urban centres, especially Thiruvananthapuram corporation, is annoying the candidates. Though polling is expected to pick up by afternoon, it unlikely to go much beyond the 43 per cent registered in the corporation in 2005. Election to Kizhavur ward in Kanjiramkulam panchayat in Thiruvananthapuram district has been put off to October 25 on finding that the symbol of an independent candidate was printed wrongly in the ballot paper.