Kerala bypoll sees 80% turnout

Heavy voter-turnout was witnessed on Saturday for the crucial bypoll in the Neyyattinkara Assembly constituency. At the close of polling at 5.00 pm on Saturday, 80.1 per cent of the total 1,64,856 had cast votes.

Turnout in the 2011 Assembly elections in Neyyattinkara was 70.67 per cent.

All five panchayats and the lone municipality in the constituency saw voters turning out in large numbers at the polling booths. However, lowest turnout was recorded at the Neyyattinkara Municipality.

The highest turnout was seen in the Thirupuram Grama Panchayat. Counting of votes would be held on June 15.

The three main candidates of the ruling UDF, Opposition LDF and the BJP claimed that the massive voter turnout would work out in their favour.

The bypoll was necessitated by the resignation of Marxist MLA R Selvaraj on March 9 from the Assembly as well as the CPI(M), after which he joined the Congress to become UDF candidate in the bypoll.

BJP candidate O Rajagopal said, “This was an election in which political immorality and violence in politics were main issues. I am sure the outcome would reflect this. BJP would score a stunning victory.” Even BJP’s opponents admitted there would be a phenomenal rise in the vote-share of that party.

UDF candidate Selvaraj, who won the last election as LDF candidate by a margin of 6,702 votes, expressed confidence of a huge victory this time also. “Every factor in the constituency has been in the UDF’s favour,” he said, while F Lawrence, Marxist party’s LDF candidate, looked equally confident of victory. There were a total of 15 candidates in the fray in Neyyattinkara.

Polling in all the 143 booths across the constituency passed off peacefully under the vigilant eyes of over 1,200 polling officials and 1,600 police personnel. The Election Commission had called in the assistance of Central forces at Udiyankulangara on Friday following some tension prevailing there.


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