Kerala parliamentary election | 76.82% turnout in 20 seats

Voters line up to cast their votes at a booth in Malapuram, Kerala on Tuesday, April 23, 2019.

Voters line up to cast their votes at a booth in Malapuram, Kerala on Tuesday, April 23, 2019.   | Photo Credit: Abdul Latheef Naha

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The Sabarimala temple issue is a major poll plank of BJP as the party sought to attack the CP(M)-led LDF government.

After a high decibel 40-day-long campaign, Kerala went to single phase polls on Tuesday with Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, Union Minister Alphons Kannamthanam and sitting MP Shashi Tharoor among those whose fortunes will be decided.

It is a do-or-die battle for both the ruling CPI(M)-led LDF and Opposition Congress-headed UDF in most of the 20 Lok Sabha seats this time in the State, known for its decades-long bipolar politics.

The BJP-led NDA is posing a formidable challenge to the two traditional fronts in at least three constituencies — Thiruvananthapuram, Pathanamthitta and Thrissur.

The saffron party is hoping to capitalise on the Sabarimala women entry issue and ensure the Lotusblooms this time from the State in the Lower House of Parliament.

Here are the latest updates:

 

10.00 pm

 

A total of 76.82% of 2.61 crore voters on April 23 exercised their franchise to elect 20 Lok Sabha members from Kerala, where the ruling LDF and the opposition UDF fought tooth and nail to garner maximum seats.

Official sources said the election was by and large peaceful.

-PTI

 

8.30 pm

11 natural deaths reported during polls

At least 11 deaths by natural causes were reported from various places in Kerala on April 23 while polling was underway for 20 Lok Sabha seats.

Here are the names released by the Election Commission of India.

Name and age

District

Mani (52)Kollam
Vijayi (62)Kannur
Tatha (90)Palakkad
Chacko Mathai (78)Pathanamthitta
Thresiamma (79)Ernakulam
Venugopal Maarar (57)Kannur
Prabhakaran (74)Alapuzha
Mehbooba (72)Palakkad
Rosamma Ouseph (84)Kottayam
KR BaburajKasargod
MK Mustafa (52)Kannur

 

6.30 pm

 

Poll percentage - At 6:00 pm

At 6 pm the total turnout in Kerala was 73.06%

Here is the district-wise breakup

ConstituencyPolling percentage
Thiruvananthapuram70.86
Attingal71.80
Kollam71.10
Pathanamthitta71.39
Mavelikkara71.08
Kottayam73.08
Alappuzha75.20
Idukki73.50
Ernakulam72.02
Chalakkudy75.97
Thrissur73.29
Alathur74.69
Palakkad74.12
Ponnani68.31
Malappuram71.04
Kozhikode72.45
Wayanad76.21
Vadakara72.98
Kannur78.16
Kasargod75.50

 

6.00 pm

 

Youth booked for raising ‘false’ complaint about EVM in Thiruvananthapuram

A 21-year-old man was booked by police after he allegedly made a false complaint about a voting machine in a booth where he cast his vote in the Lok Sabha elections. The case was registered against the voter, identified as Ebin Babu, under IPC section 177 (furnishing false information) after a test voting conducted by polling officials showed his complaint to be false, police said.

Election officials said he was handed over to the police for further action in view of increasing false complaints and allegations about voting machines, a move that drew criticism from opposition Congress.

After casting his vote in the booth in the Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha constituency, Babu complained to polling officials the VVPAT machine showed his vote was not registered in favour of his preferred candidate. However, after a test voting was held in the presence of the presiding officer and polling agents, the complaint was found to be false.

4.40 pm

Voting percentage cross 60-mark

With less than three hours left for polling to end, the voting percentage in Kerala has crossed 60%.

According to a 4 p.m. update by the Election Commission, the voting percentage has touched 61.94% with a little over 1.62 crore voters exercising their franchise. Kannur (66.89) and Wayanad (64.57), where the turn-out has been the highest so far, continue to witness brisk polling in the final hours.

4.15 pm

Two voters collapse on way to booth

Even as Kottayam is witnessing a heavy voter turnout, two persons fatally collapsed while proceeding to their respective polling stations here.

The deceased have been identified as the 84-year old Rosamma Ouseph and 55 yer old Suresh Arthyakulam. The woman, a native of Pothi near Thalayolapparambu, collapsed while proceeding to the polling station in the afternoon. Though rushed to a hospital nearby, she was declared brought dead.

Suresh, a native of Parambuzha was on his way to the polling station at Perumbayikkad Devilasam School when he collapsed. He was rushed to the Government medical College in Kottayam, though to no avail.

3.10 pm

Polling continues at brisk pace

Long queue of women voters seen at a polling booth in Anchuthengu, located in the coastal regions of the Attingal constituency, during the Phase III of Lok Sabha polls, in Kerala on Tuesday.

Long queue of women voters seen at a polling booth in Anchuthengu, located in the coastal regions of the Attingal constituency, during the Phase III of Lok Sabha polls, in Kerala on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: Praveen

 

Over 1.35 crore voters (56%) have cast their vote by 3 p.m. in Kerala, as polling continued at a brisk pace in almost all the constituencies.

The polling percentage in Kannur has crossed 55 per cent. Other districts is also witnessing high voter turnout. (See the table below)

Polling % - Latest figures

ConstituencyPolling percentage
Thiruvananthapuram60.93
Attingal61.84
Kollam60.57
Pathanamthitta70.36
Mavelikkara60.95
Kottayam63.76
Alappuzha63.54
Idukki63.80
Ernakulam60.30
Chalakkudy64.54
Thrissur62.27
Alathur62.16
Palakkad63.69
Ponnani56.15
Malappuram58.77
Kozhikode69.10
Wayanad64.57
Vadakara70.45
Kannur66.89
Kasargod62.66

 

3:00 pm

Voter booked for complaining against VVPAT

A police case has been registered against a voter who was unable to prove his claim that the VVPAT had credited his vote to another candidate.

Ebin Babu of Plamoodu, Pattom, had claimed there was a mismatch between the VVPAT slip and vote he casted. After a test voting, his claim was proven false. The Medical College police have registered a case.

2.30 pm

Thiruvambady segment records over 50% turnout

The Thiruvambady assembly segment in kozhikode district, part of Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency,  on Tuesday recorded over 50%. by 2 pm.

2.00 pm

Snake inside VVPAT machine holds up polling in Kannur

A snake which wa found inside a VVPAT machine in a booth during a poll at Kandakkai near Mayyil in Kannur Lok constituency, Kerala on Tuesday, April 23, 2019.

A snake which wa found inside a VVPAT machine in a booth during a poll at Kandakkai near Mayyil in Kannur Lok constituency, Kerala on Tuesday, April 23, 2019.   | Photo Credit: Mohammed Nazeer

An unusual "visitor" in a polling booth in the Kannur Lok Sabha constituency, held up  voting for a brief while Tuesday.

A small snake was found inside a VVPAT machine in a booth  at Mayyil Kandakkai in the constituency, which is witnessing 
heavy polling, triggering panic among officials and voters.

However, the reptile was soon removed and voting continued.

1:40 p.m.

Chalakudy witnesses record turnout

A whopping 43.72% of the electorate cast their ballot at Chalakudy constituency by 1 pm on Tuesday, while it was 39.80% in Ernakulam constituency. 

In Chalakudy, the highest percentage of 47.45 was in Kunnathunad assembly segment, while Paravur Assembly segment recorded the highest polling of 42.36 in Ernakulam.

12.45 p.m.

People brave Maoist threat, hilly terrain to vote in Wayanad

Despite the threat of disruptive Maoist activity and difficulties posed by a rugged terrain marked by switchbacks of hills and forests, voters turned out in large numbers in Wayanad.

The Lok Sabha constituency shot into national prominence following the candidature of Congress president Rahul Gandhi.

According to an Election Commission of India update at 11.40 a.m., Wayanad cast 23.68% of its total votes. Unofficial figures put the figure at 28%.

Read more
 

12.15 p.m.

Voter dies while standing in queue at Pezhumpara

A 66-year old voter, Mathai Chacko of Pezhumpara, fatally collapsed while waiting in queue to exercise his franchise at a polling booth at Pezhumpara near Vadsserikkara in Ranni taluk of the Pathanamthitta parliamentary constituency on Tuesday forenoon.

The polling percentage in the constituency has gone up to 29.16 by 11.50 am.

Meanwhile, an elderly woman who was waiting to cast her vote collapsed and died at booth number 54 in Kanjoor, Kalady police said. She was identified as Thresiamma, aged 79 years.

12.10 p.m.

In Kochi, model polling exercise hasn’t calmed nerves of first-time voters

Riya Antony and K.S. Anagha, two first-time voters, waiting in the queue at Valluvally government school, Paravur, part of the Ernakulam LS constituency.

Riya Antony and K.S. Anagha, two first-time voters, waiting in the queue at Valluvally government school, Paravur, part of the Ernakulam LS constituency.   | Photo Credit: K.S. Sudhi

 

Tension was writ large on the faces of Riya Antony and K. S. Anagha, as they queued up at the polling station set up Valluvalli Government School, Paravur, part of the Ernakulam Lok Sabha segment.

Although the two friends, accompanied by their parents, had revised the process of polling in their minds several times over before reaching the polling station, they turned nervous as they moved closer to the polling booth.

“I’m not sure if I will be able to cast my vote they way I want. What if something goes wrong?" asked Ms. Anagha, a B.Pharm student at Kochi.

Model polling exercises held at educational institutions have not helped the two first-time voters overcome their worries about casting their votes.

“At college, we underwent all the formalities that are there in the real booths except for the electronic voting machines. There, we wrote the name of the candidate in a piece of paper and dropped it in a box,” said Ms. Antony, a D.Ed student.

Shajajan, Ms. Anagha’s father, was seen giving suggestions to the girls as they patiently stood in the queue.

“I spoke to her about the importance of elections and the need to exercise our right to vote. I also explained to her the process of voting,” he said.

At the same time, he said he had not asked his daughter to vote for any specific candidate, as “she knew whom to vote for”.

“I will vote for the candidate of my choice,” asserted Ms. Anagha.

11.45 a.m.

‘Modi machines’ have reached Kerala, says Kodiyeri

The snag in EVMs prove that ‘Modi machines’ have reached Kerala and the arrangements of the Election Commission have gone awry, CPI(M) State secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan has said.

Mr. Balakrishnan said that the commission should have reduced the number of voters from around 1,200 to 600 to make the process easy and comfortable for the voters. The LDF will win 19 seats and spring a surprise, he said. Referring to charges of the LDF instigating violence, he said that the Congress and the BJP were raising such charges due to lack of self confidence. The high voter turnout will increase the voteshare and seats of the LDF, he said.

Considering the delay in polling, the commission should ensure that all voters are getting a chance to vote, he said

11.40 a.m.

Ernakulam records over 26% voting at 11 a.m.

The polling percentage in Ernakulam Lok Sabha constituency by 11 a.m. on Tuesday was 26.60, while it was 29.15% in adjacent Chalakudy constituency, a senior election official monitoring both the areas said.

Defective polling machines in 10 booths each in Ernakulam and Chaladudy had to be replaced with new machines. This delayed polling in these booths by over an hour.

Many more defective EVM and VVPAT machines had to be replaced during mock poll that was conducted prior to polling beginning at 7 a.m. He termed as gossip reports that vote cast for a candidate was being credited to another candidate in a couple of booths. No untoward incident or violence has been reported so far. Neither was any incident been reported of people fainting or having faced other health problems while at any polling booth, the official added.

Ramps were made available in many booths, to enable easy access to aged people and the differently-abled.

11.30 a.m.

UDF will sweep polls: Padmaja

The UDF candidate for the Thiruvananthapuram Parliament constituency Shashi Tharoor with his family after casting their vote at a booth at cottonhill school in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday.

The UDF candidate for the Thiruvananthapuram Parliament constituency Shashi Tharoor with his family after casting their vote at a booth at cottonhill school in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: S. Mahinsha

 

Congress leader Padmaja Venugopal has exuded confidence that the UDF wil sweep all 20 seats in the State.

The excitement among the electorate in favour of UDF is palpable, she said after casting her vote at Govt HSS, Panampilly Nagar. Asked about the impact of actor Suresh Gopi's candidature from Thrissur, held for long by her late father and Congress stalwart K. Karunakaran, Ms. Venugopal said that the people were sensible enough to differentiate between film and politics. “UDF candidate T.N. Pratapan with his goodwill will emerge victorious there,” she said.

11.30 a.m.

22% polling till 11 a.m.

Polling has picked up pace in the State and by 11 a.m., 59.2 lakh people (22.24%) voters had exercised their franchise, according to a 11 a.m. update from the Election Commission. Kannur (24.53%), Idukki (24.25%) and Palakkad (24.38%) topped the list.

10.45 a.m.

Polling at a brisk pace at all-woman station in Kochi

Long queue of voters at polling booth no 89 at SRV LP School.

Long queue of voters at polling booth no 89 at SRV LP School.   | Photo Credit: M.P. Praveen

 

Voting is progressing at a brisk pace at polling booth no. 90 at SRV LP School in Kochi, which has the distinction of being an all-woman booth. 

All polling officials at the booth are women and is among the few such selected booths set up for this election in the district with the greater goal of women empowerment.

Till 10 a.m, 153 out of the 703 registered voters in the booth had cast their votes.

10.40 a.m.

Collector says Chowara complaint is ‘technically and technologically impossible’

Over 12% votes were polled in Kerala by 10 a.m., amid complaints about defective electronic voting machines (EVM) from various polling stations across the state.

Of the total 2.61 crore voters, 33.7 lakh voters (12.51%) cast their votes in the first three hours of voting, according to a 10 a.m. update from the Election Commission.

K. Vasuki, District Collector, Thiruvananthapuram, said a technical error in the EVM had given rise to the complaint in Chowara, Kovalam, that votes were being cast for the BJP although the button was pressed for the Congress candidate.

The allegation that votes were being cast for a particular party alone when the button is pressed is “technically and technologically impossible”, she said in a Facebook message.

After 76 votes were cast at booth no. 151 at Chowara, the machine had developed an error. It has been replaced and polling restarted, the District Collector said.

10.30 a.m.

Delay in voting in Kochi affects senior citizens in queue

The delay in voting in Kochi turned out to be a harrowing experience for the senior citizens who had to wait for long in the queues.

On an average, one may have to wait for at least one and a half hours for exercising their franchise in booths with good voter turnout.

Many senior voters complained about the delay and wanted some facilities including chairs outside the polling booth.

Johnny Menacheri, a voter at the 33rd booth set up at St. Philomena's High School, Paravur, was among the voters who raised the demand.

“I have been waiting for nearly one hour to vote and my legs are aching. Some chairs or benches shall be provided to the senior citizens,” he demanded.

Meanwhile, one voter died while standing in queue at Chokli in Kannur. A 64-year old woman who was standing in queue at the polling booth at Ramavilasam High School at Chokli near Thalassery died after collapsing in the morning.

Although several voting units suffered technical snags during mock polling, they were all overcome, as brisk polling was recorded in Tripunithura, part of the Ernakulam Lok Sabha constituency.

Polling was delayed by an hour and a half at booth number 105 at SNDP School, Udayamperoor because of a snag in VVPAT machine as soon as polling got underway. It was restarted by 8.30 a.m. There was also a delay of about half-an-hour at booth 44, Potta, Eroor, to rectify a snag encountered during mock poll.

Mock poll problems were seen at booth number 46 at Kodangkulangara school; booth number 99 at Udayamperoor, Valiyakulam; booth number 113 at Patel Memorial UP School, South Paravur; and at booth 71 at St. Francis School, Puthiyakavu — all part of the Ernakulam Lok Sabha constituency.

A student cadet at Irumpanam VHSS was admitted to hospital after he felt giddy. However, the student of St. Peter's College is said to have recovered.

10.20 a.m.

Polling peaceful in Ernakulam

Ernakulam Collector and District Election Officer K. Mohammed Y. Safirulla has said that polling is progressing in the district in a peaceful manner.

A total of 12.11% of voters of the Chalakudy Lok Sabha constituency exercised their right to franchise in the first two hours that witnessed heavy voter turnout despite the overcast conditions. Ernakulam Lok Sabha constituency recorded 11.39% polling in the first two hours.

No untoward incident has been reported in the district so far. While glitches with some ballot units and VVPAT machines held up polling at some polling stations during mock polling and soon after polling began, the issues were addressed immediately to resume polling at these places.

Meanwhile, Ernakulam LDF candidate P. Rajeev has expressed hope of a registering victory by a high margin. “Our campaign was able to evoke good response among all sections of the people,”  he said after casting his vote at polling booth no. 152 at Ambedkar Centre at Cusat in Kalamassery on Tuesday morning. He expressed confidence of being able to grow beyond being the LDF candidate to a people's candidate. “People irrespective of religious and political affiliations have showered love on us,” he said.

UDF candidate Hibi Eden was confident of a landslide victory surpassing all expectations. He, however, was critical of the alleged discrepancies in the voter's list. He accused the voters' list of stripping not less than 25,000 assured UDF voters.

10.05 a.m.

Speed of polling picks up in Kerala despite few EVM glitches

Actor Mammootty with LDF candidate P. Rajeev and UDF candidate Hibi Eden after casting vote at Govt HSS Panampilly Nagar.

Actor Mammootty with LDF candidate P. Rajeev and UDF candidate Hibi Eden after casting vote at Govt HSS Panampilly Nagar.   | Photo Credit: M.P. Praveen

 

The pace of voting appeared to be on an upward spiral in 20 Lok Sabha constituencies across Kerala almost three hours into the start of the ballotting process at 7 a.m.

Chief Electoral Officer, Kerala, Teeka Ram Meena, said the poll percentage at 9.30 a.m. indicated a healthy 12% turn out, higher than the figure for the same period in past elections. 

He urged the public not to believe in politically motivated rumour-mongering about the integrity of voting machines. The humidity caused by thunderstorms on Monday night had affected the functioning of the sensitive EVMs in a few booths in Thiruvananthapuram, Cherthala and Pathanamthitta.

The ECI had anticipated such glitches and kept reserve machines at hand. District Collectors had visited the booths from where complaints about EVMs had come up. They oversaw the replacement of the devices and restored the polling process.

District Collector K. Vasuki, quashed the rumour that the EVM at Chowara had misrepresented votes. She said she had sought a report from booth officials. Ms. Vasuki said the allegations raised by a few political agents had no basis in truth.

The weather remained sunny in large parts of Kerala in the morning. Poll managers of opposing political fronts said they had asked workers on the field to ask their supporters, particularly families, not to wait till afternoon because of a thunderstorm warning by the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD).

Voters turned out wearing their Sunday best to exercise their franchise. They arrived in the company of family, friends and neighbours and queued up in front of their respective booths to register their political choice.

A galaxy of top political leaders cast their votes along with their families in the first few hours of the balloting. Television newspersons mobbed film actors, mainly Mohanlal and Mammootty, in their respective constituencies. Both of them urged the public to ensure that they exercised their vote.

10 a.m.

A.K. Antony says outcome will render a warning to the Centre

The outcome of the Lok Sabha election results will render a warning to the NDA government that is pursuing a divisive agenda and the LDF government in the State, Congress leader A. K. Antony has said.

Mr. Antony said that the people of Kerala would vote for UPA, beyond caste, religion and community considerations.

9.45 a.m.

EVMs malfunction in many booths in Kannur

Malfunctioning of EVMs delayed polling in several polling booths in the district including the polling booth at Pinarayi where Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan cast his vote.

According to officials several booths in the district witnessed glitches in the functioning of EVMs when polling process started at 7 a.m. The EVM malfunctioning delayed the start of polling by 30 minutes to one hour.

Among the booths where polling was delayed in the morning included Amala RC Basic School at Pinarayi. Polling resumed by the time the CM reached the booth at 8.15 a.m.

The CM told reporters that there were complaints of EVM malfunctioning in several booths. He blamed the Election Commission for not ensuring the smooth functioning of the EVMs.

District Collector Mir Mohamed Ali told The Hindu that though the EVMs malfunctioned in many booths in the district initially, nearly all of them were replaced, he said.

9.40 a.m.

Chief Electoral Officer, Kerala, defends integrity of EVM

Chief Electoral Officer, Kerala, Teeka Ram Meena, dismissed the allegation that the EVM at a booth in coastal Chowara in Thiruvananthapuram was tampered in favour of any particular political party. 

Meanwhile, voting has resumed at the locality under a tight security blanket.


NDA candidate Kummanam Rajasekharan has said that the glitches in EVMs should be examined.

Being a transparent process, such issues should be addressed, he said after casting vote. He exuded the confidence of registering an impressive win and accused the rival fronts of spreading canards against the NDA. People are yearning for a change and that will reflect in the outcome, he said.

LDF leaders in Kovalam have demanded the Election Commission to initiate action on the complaint of the BJP allegedly rigging the machine.

CPI(M) leadership Hari Kumar said that the LDF has demanded decision on the 76 votes that were cast in the morning.

9.25 a.m.

Polling stopped at Chowara

Protests erupted at a booth (151) in coastal Chowara near the Kovalam beach resort in Thiruvananthapuram constituency in Kerala after Congress workers alleged that the electronic voting machine was rigged in favour of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Election officials stopped the polling after booth agents pointed out a discrepancy between an electronic vote and the corresponding ballot registered on the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT).

The police said the trouble happened after 76 persons cast their votes on the EVM. Booth agents of the Congress and LDF claimed that he had voted for the Congress, but the VVPAT indicated the ballot was cast in favour of the BJP.

They said the EVM at the booth had shown no problems when election officials conducted a trial voting in the presence of agents of various political parties. The Election Commission was yet to explain the development. However, the Congress and the Left quickly seized on the development and raised doubts about the integrity of the EVMs.

Efforts were on to restart the polling by installing a new machine. The police have rushed reinforcements to the locality to prevent the protests from escalating into violence.

Thiruvananthapuram had witnessed a fierce three corner electoral battle between incumbent MP Shashi Tharoor of the Congress, C. Divakaran of the LDF and Kummanam Rajasekharan of the BJP.

9.20 a.m.

6.06% polling in Chalakudy till 9 a.m.

Women and elderly citizens were seen in large numbers as 6.06 percentage of voters in Chalakudy Look Sabha constituency exercised their franchise by 9 am.

Long queues of voters emerged within 30 minutes after the polling began at 7 a.m. At the polling booth in Govt Teacher Training School in Chalakudy town, a senior citizen was seen holding her grandchild even as her daughter entered the booth to cast her vote.

A section of voters at Nirmala College near KSRTC bus station, Chalakudy, protested against the slow pace of polling. They asked the polling officials to permit senior citizens not to stand in queues. Police intervened to pacify them.

Actor-turned politician Innocent of the LDF is taking on UDF convener Benny Behanan in the battle for Chalakudy. A N Radhakrishnan is the BJP candidate.

9.15 a.m.

Spurts of polling in Kottur booth

At the polling booth at the Kottur forest office in the high ranges of rural Thiruvanathapuram, most of the voters come in batches, depending on the lone bus service from inside the forests.

At the polling booth at the Kottur forest office in the high ranges of rural Thiruvanathapuram, most of the voters come in batches, depending on the lone bus service from inside the forests.   | Photo Credit: S.R. Praveen

Out of the total of 775 voters in this booth, about 70 voted by 7.30 am, when the first bus arrived. The next batch of voters came at 9 am, when the second bus arrived. At other times, the polling booth mostly wears a deserted look, except for the handful of voters who arrive in bikes.

9 a.m.

Rajagopal confident of an ‘impressive win’

A model polling station in Meppadi in Wayanad constituency.

A model polling station in Meppadi in Wayanad constituency.   | Photo Credit: E.M. Manoj

 

BJP State president P. S. Sreedharan Pillai has exuded the confidence of the party opening account in the State.

Lone BJP MLA O. Rajagopal, reacting to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's observation that the BJP will finish third, said that the party will register an impressive win. He also ruled out chances of cross voting.

In the wake of complaints about glitches in EVMs, functioning of the machines should be reviewed, Finance Minister T. M. Thomas Isaac has said. Counting of VVPAT is the sole option, he said.

8.45 a.m.

Pinarayi Vijayan says fight is between LDF and UDF

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan casts his vote at Amala RC Basic School at Pinarayi in Kannur.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan casts his vote at Amala RC Basic School at Pinarayi in Kannur.   | Photo Credit: Mohamed Nazeer

 

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan says the fight is between the ruling LDF and UDF in the state and that the BJP will emerge third in 20 Lok Sabha constituencies in the State.

The Chief Minister was speaking after exercising his franchise at the school in his home town Pinarayi in Kannur.

The attempts of those who were instrumental in creating a communal divide in North India to gain ground in Kerala will not yield any result, Mr. Vijayan has said.

After casting vote in Kannur on Tuesday, Mr. Vijayan said that the attempt of such forces to win public support by conducting roadshows will not succeed. Mr. Vijayan's remarks were obviously aimed the BJP. He accused the Congress of running a false campaign against the State government since it was devoid of raising any allegations.

The Chief minister has blamed the Election Commission for not ensuring the smooth functioning of electronic voting machines. “In my booth, the EVM did not function initially. There are complaints about evms malfunctioning. the commission did not see it seriously.”

8.30 a.m.

Long queues in Pathanamthitta

Polling began in different parts of  Pathanamthita at a slow pace on Tuesday morning.  EVMs reportedly developed  technical snags in many booths, leading to the delayed start of the  polling.

Votting at a booth at Anappara in the town, where the LDF candidate Veena George cast her vote, began only at 7.30 am. The situation was more or less the same at  certain booths in Kozhencherry and in the Upper Kultaned villages in Thiruvalla taluk.

Almost all polling stations in the constituency witnessed long queues from the morning itself.

8.15 a.m.

Governor exercises franchise

Kerala Governor P. Sathasivam has asked all eligible voters to exercise their franchise.

The Governor made the appeal after casting the vote along with his wife Saraswathy  at the Govt lower primary school Jawahar Nagar.

"We verified the voters' list one month ago to ensure that the names are there", he said.

This is the second time that a Kerala Governor is exercising their franchise in the State.

Kerala Governor P. Sathasivam and his wife cast their votes at a polling booth at Jawaharnagar in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday, April 23, 2019.

Kerala Governor P. Sathasivam and his wife cast their votes at a polling booth at Jawaharnagar in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday, April 23, 2019.   | Photo Credit: S. Mahinsha

 

 

8 a.m.

Mullapally Ramachandran confident of winning against LDF

Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president Mullapally Ramachandran has said that the Lok Sabha poll outcome will render a shock to the Left Democratic Front government and the National Democratic Alliance government's policies too.

After casting vote at Vadakara on Tuesday morning, Mr. Ramachandran said that it would be a verdict against intolerance and political violence. Never before had electioneering been so opulent. The CPI(M) leadership should reveal its source of funds, he said.

7.50 a.m.

Polling briefly disrupted in a booth in Kochi

Polling was disrupted at booth number 34 of Vennala High School after the EVM developed technical snag. Efforts are on to replace the damaged machine. Long queue of voters could be seen waiting outside the booth. Polling resumed after some time.

7.45 a.m.

Nair Service Society general secretary Sukumaran Nair has reiterated the organisation’s equidistant stance, but reiterated that the Sabarimala issue will have an impact on the outcome.

After exercising his franchise at Changanassery on Tuesday morning, Mr. Nair said that NSS has not given any direction to its members, but people will vote with a sense of reality. Sabarimala issue will have its impact wherever there are faithful. He clarified that the society is not against any front.

7.15 a.m.

 

Voters waiting to cast their votes inside a polling station during the third phase of the Lok Sabha polls in Ernakulam.

Voters waiting to cast their votes inside a polling station during the third phase of the Lok Sabha polls in Ernakulam.   | Photo Credit: H. Vibhu

 

7 a.m.

All eyes on Wayanad

A key seat will be Wayanad from where Mr. Rahul Gandhi is contesting besides his pocket borough Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, Thiruvananthapuram where Mr. Tharoor is eyeing a hat-trick and Ernakulam, the costal city from where Mr. Kannamthanam is seeking to make his Lok Sabha debut.

The Sabarimala temple issue is a major poll plank of BJP as the party sought to attack the CPI-M led LDF government.

The State witnessed massive protests after the LDF government decided to implement the September 28 Supreme Court verdict allowing women of all age groups to offer prayers at the Lord Ayyappa shrine, setting aside the traditional ban.

Senior BJP leader Kummanam Rajashekharan, who resigned as Mizoram Governor to test electoral waters, is giving a tough fight to former Union Minister and well-known author Mr. Tharoor, who is aiming for a hat-trick of wins from the State capital.

The acrimonious campaign saw Prime minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah going on a blitzkrieg as the saffron party seeks to gain a foothold in the State.

Mr. Modi has avoided any direct reference to Sabarimala or Lord Ayyappa, apparently to avoid any violation of election code.

He, however, assured the people of the State that the BJP would do everything from court to the Constitution to protect the traditions and beliefs of the people, if voted to power.

Mr. Modi attacked Mr. Rahul Gandhi for contesting from Wayanad, saying his choice of the constituency was not to send any message to the people of South India as the latter’s party has been claiming, but a “message for appeasement politics”.

The Left parties have taken exception to Mr. Rahul Gandhi’s nomination from Wayanad, saying it defeated the goal of forming a formidable alliance against the BJP.

Mr. Rahul Gandhi and his sister Priyanaka Gandhi Vadra were the star campaigners of the Congress while UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi kept away from the heat and dust of the poll arena in the State.

Wayanad, considered a Congress stronghold, was represented by its late leader M.I. Shanavas in 2014 and 2009.

Another constituency in limelight — Vatakara — where K. Muraleedharan of the Congress is pitted against CPI(M) strongman and its former Kannurdistrict secretary, P. Jayarajan, is all set for a photo finish.

CPI(M) general secretary, Sitaram Yechury, Polit bureau members Prakash Karat and Brinda Karat, CPI leaders Sudhakar Reddy and D. Raja were among those who criss crossed the State canvassing for the LDF, which has a lot at stake in Kerala — the last Communist bastion.

Nine MLAs, 13 sitting MPs, including Mr. Gandhi, and two actors (Suresh Gopi and Innocent) are among those fighting the polls.

A total of 227 candidates are in the fray and they include six women nominees from various political parties.

Wayanad has the maximum number of candidates at 20 and while Alathur in Palakkad district the lowest of 6.

Police have identified 4,482 sensitive polling stations out of which 162 are considered Left-wing extremists-affected.

According to Chief Electoral Officer Teeka Ram Meena, 817 booths are listed as critical polling stations and 425 as vulnerable booths.

Fifty seven companies of Central forces and over 4,700 security personnel have been deployed across the State for the elections.

There are 2.61 crore voters — 1,26,81,992 males, 1,34,64,688 females and 173 third gender voters.

The strength of first time voters in Kerala is over two lakh in the age group of 18-19.

The campaign ended with massive road shows by the three fronts, but marred by incidents of violence in several places causing injuries to several persons Sunday evening.

Kozhikode district administration has imposed prohibitory orders in certain parts of of Vatakara constituency from 6 p.m. Tuesday to 10 p.m. the next day to prevent post-election violence in sensitive areas.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the UDF had won 12 seats and LDF 8.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 7:58:48 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/lok-sabha-2019/kerala-parliamentary-election-live-updates/article26913309.ece

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