Say polling on Sunday will not lower voting percentage

Both the United Democratic Front (UDF) and Left Democratic Front (LDF) candidates for the Piravom byelection feel that the day of the polling will not make any difference to the polling percentage.

Certain church groups and Chief Minister Oommen Chandy himself had asked that the polling, set for March 18, a Sunday, be moved to another day. Mr. Chandy had said that his government would suggest to the Election Commission to hold the election a day earlier, on March 17. He reasoned that elections had never been held on Sundays.

Church groups' demand

The church groups wanted the polling day to be changed as Sunday was a holyday for Christians, who made up the largest chunk of the electorate in Piravom. Since Christians would be going to church on the day, it would be inconvenient to a large section of voters, they contend.

UDF candidate Anoop Jacob and LDF candidate M.J. Jacob told The Hindu that it would have been better had the polling been scheduled for a day other than Sunday. However, they did not believe that the voter turnout would be low just because polling was on a Sunday. When asked for their view regarding the shifting of the polling day, both said they stood by the decisions of the leaders of their respective fronts. “The election should have been held much earlier,” Mr. Jacob, however, said. “It could have been held in December or January.”

Meanwhile, it is pointed out that the politically sensitive Piravom electorate would not mind the polling being held on a Sunday. Moreover, since electronic voting machines would be used, waiting time at the polling stations would be very short and hence those going to church would not be much inconvenienced.

Both Mr. Anoop Jacob and Mr. Jacob have been camping in the constituency since November expecting the Election Commission to announce the poll schedule anytime. Both have been meeting scores of people every day and visiting homes of prospective voters. Attending birthday parties, funeral ceremonies, weddings, and local public functions have been a routine affair for both since their candidacy was announced by their respective fronts.