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Rain, faulty EVMs play spoilsport in Kerala civic polls

election

Thiruvananthapuram: Heavy rain and faulty electronic voting machines (EVMs) played the spoilsport during ballotting on Thursday in the second and the final phase of Kerala’s civic polls.

It rained heavily in districts of Thrissur and Ernakulam but despite that, people queued up in good numbers to vote.

The EVMs developed problems and voting was stopped in around 300 polling booths in parts of Thrissur, Malappuram and Palakkad. Poll authorities were working to resolve the issues.

“I spoke to the SEC (State Election Commissioner) and he has assured all the things will be taken care. We have been told that in around 170 booths, voting has commenced, while in the other booths it is yet to start again,” said CPI-M state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan.

State Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala told reporters that if the SEC asks for a probe to be conducted, it will be done.

“The director general of police has told me that they are prepared to conduct a probe. The SEC has said that in case there is a stoppage of more than three hours, then a repoll would be held in such booths,” said Chennithala.

Voting began at 7 a.m., and will end at 5 p.m.

According to the State Election Commission, 21.84 percent of the electorate cast their ballots till 11 a.m.

Over 14 million voters are eligible to decide the political fate of more than 40,000 candidates vying for 12,651 seats in seven districts — Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Palakkad and Malappuram.

The first phase of the civic polls took place on Monday.

The results will be out on Saturday.

The ruling United Democratic Front (UDF), led by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, said the front will retain power, while the Left opposition said that the outcome of this poll would signal the start of the downfall of the UDF.

The BJP, which is yet to open its account in the 140-member Kerala assembly and has around 500 seats in the outgoing local government bodies in the state, has claimed that it would emerge as the biggest gainer.