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Kerala ready for polling amidst growing Covid

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Suresh Unnithan

Thiruvananthapuram: The month long vociferous election campaign has come to a halt and now it’s the turn of the electorate. Amidst stringent Covid restrictions Kerala is going to Polling booths today to choose their representatives for the next five years.

For 140 Assembly Seats, 957 candidates are in the fray.  Polling will be done for one Lok Sabha seat-Malappuram, which was vacated by Kunjhalikutty of Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) to contest the Assembly Election. IUML is the second largest constituent of the Congress-led UDF.

According to the election commission the state has a total of 2,74,46,042 eligible electorates of which 1, 41,62, 025 are female voters and 1,32,83,727  are male electorates. The number of eligible transgender voters is 290.

Interestingly, a transgender, Anannyah Kumari Alex, who filed her nominations to contest the assembly polls, had to withdraw from the contest due to “pressure from” her party.

According to Anannyah Kumari, she was mentally tortured and received death threats from leaders of the Democratic Social Justice Party (DSJP) which had nominated her.

Kumari pitted from the Vengara constituency in the Malappuram district of Kerala against senior leader IUML leader P K representing the UDF and Communist Party of India (Marxist) candidate P Jiji representing the Left Democratic Front (LDF).

A dejected Kumari told the media that the DSJP leaders had forced  to speak ills about UDF candidate P K Kunhalikutty and the LDF government. The party leaders also wanted her to “observe pardah during the election campaign.  When I said I would not do anything which would surrender my personality, they started harassing.”

Adhering to the Covid norms the election commission has restricted number of voters in each booth. So the number of polling booths had to be increased by over 50 percent from the past election. This state has 40771 polling stations.

 To ensure opportunity to all for casting votes those above 80 years of age and electorates with disabilities were given postal voting facility. For the Covid infected the Commission has made special arrangements to cast their votes at the last hour of polling. This time the commission has also made facilities for those visually challenged  to vote without external help.

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