Advertisement
Monday, Dec 06, 2021
Outlook.com
Outlook.com

Kerala Bypolls: Heavy Rains Play Spoilsport As Voter Turnout Falls To 57%

Months of intrigue culminated in what amounted to a damp squib on Monday as heavy rains lashed the state and disrupted voter turnout in several areas where around 9.5 lakh people were eligible to cast the ballot.

Kerala Bypolls: Heavy Rains Play Spoilsport As Voter Turnout Falls To 57%
A man shows his finger marked with indelible ink after casting his vote at a polling station inundated in rain water on Monday | PTI Photo
Kerala Bypolls: Heavy Rains Play Spoilsport As Voter Turnout Falls To 57%
outlookindia.com
2019-10-22T08:42:14+05:30

Of the many variables factored in the by-election forecast of Kerala's five districts, the weather was unlikely to have figured as a difference-maker. However, months of intrigue culminated in what amounted to a damp squib on Monday as heavy rains lashed the state and disrupted voter turnout in several areas where around 9.5 lakh people were eligible to cast the ballot.

The worst-hit was the Ernakulam constituency, where incessant rains inundated roads, railway lines and poll stations. Around 10-12 waterlogged booths had to be shifted as police and fire personnel were roped in to facilitate the voting. When polls closed at 6 pm, the official turnout was roughly 58 per cent – down from about 72 per cent in the 2016 elections, prompting calls (mainly from the UDF, which has traditionally dominated the seat) for an extension, postponement or re-election.

Speaking to the media, Kerala Chief Electoral Officer Teeka Ram Meena had said, “The timing for casting vote can be extended even after 6 pm. If there is no other option, then we will check the reports of the returning officers and give the option of repolling in the select stations where no activity took place.”

For Shilpi Mathai, who waded out to vote after securing his flooded home in Kochi, the thunderstorms and 40-kmph wind gusts helped “put the ‘kulam’ (pool) in Ernakulam”. The four other constituencies – Vattiyoorkavu in Thiruvananthapuram (63 per cent turnout), Aroor in Alappuzha (80 per cent), Manjeshwaram in Kasargod (75 per cent) and Konni in Pathanamthitta (70 per cent) – fared better, though intermittent rains of varying severity played a crucial role.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) issued red alert warnings, for rainfall over 20 cm, in seven districts, including Thiruvananthapuram, Alappuzha and Ernakulam. To warn of heavy isolated showers, orange and yellow warnings were issued to Pathanamthitta and Kasargod districts respectively.

In Vattiyoorkavu, meanwhile, party workers in the UDF and NDA camps wondered if the red alert meant a ‘red wave’ of support for city Mayor V.K. Prasanth who is contesting the seat for the LDF. “The heavy rains might give some people here flashbacks of last year’s floods. In such a scenario, I don’t know if the other candidates can match up to the publicity the Mayor received for his efforts coordinating relief operations in the city,” said a Congress worker, who asked not to be named.

Advertisement

Outlook Newsletters

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Read More from Outlook

Jayant Yadav, Ravi Ashwin Spin India To Series Win Vs NZ in Mumbai Test

Jayant Yadav, Ravi Ashwin Spin India To Series Win Vs NZ in Mumbai Test

India beat New Zealand by 372 runs to win the second Test match at the Wankhede Stadium on Monday. India also pocket the series 1-0. The first Test match in Kanpur ended in a draw.

Liberation Of Bangladesh: India Observes 'Maitri Diwas' To Mark 50 Years Of Friendship

Liberation Of Bangladesh: India Observes 'Maitri Diwas' To Mark 50 Years Of Friendship

India and Bangladesh are jointly observing 'Maitri Diwas' to commemorate 50 years of the Bangladesh Liberation War 1971 and India's role in the neighbouring nation's freedom struggle.

Bangladesh Liberation War: RSS-Linked Group To Hold Exhibition On 'Bengali Hindu Genocide' In Kolkata

Bangladesh Liberation War: RSS-Linked Group To Hold Exhibition On 'Bengali Hindu Genocide' In Kolkata

BJP's Suvendu Adhikary will be inaugurating the exhibition-cum-seminar to commemorate the Noakhali riots of 1946 and the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971.

Hip-Hop’s Strongest Asset Is Its History Of Rebellion And Truth-Telling

Hip-Hop’s Strongest Asset Is Its History Of Rebellion And Truth-Telling

Not since Indipop has a musical movement in India built such a strong independent presence

Advertisement