Puthupally bypoll: Heavy voting continues as 45% polling reported
The bypoll was necessitated after the death of the former Kerala Chief Minister and Congress stalwart Oommen Chandy in July this year
After the high-octane campaign, voting for the by-election in the Puthuppally assembly constituency in Kerala’s Kottayam district has reached 45 per cent reported till 1 pm. Polling was disrupted briefly following heavy rain in various places in the constituency. The counting of votes will begin on September 8 at 8 am in the auditorium of Kottayam’s Baselius College.
The bypoll was necessitated after the death of the former Kerala Chief Minister and Congress stalwart Oommen Chandy in July this year. Chandy represented the constituency in Kottayam district for more than five decades without any break until his demise on July 18.
The CPI(M), which hopes to breach the Congress bastion, has fielded DYFI leader Jaick C Thomas who had unsuccessfully contested from the constituency in 2016 and 2021 against the late Chandy. The Congress has fielded Chandy's son, Chandy Oommen. The BJP has fielded its Kottayam district president G Lijinlal.
Within the first two hours of polling, there was a turnout of 26.6 per cent as evidenced by the long queues outside many of the total 182 polling stations in the constituency. By noon, it had reached 41.53 per cent and by 1 pm 45%. Till 11 am, 46,928 voters—24,682 men and 22,246 women—had cast their votes, the district administration said. In the first four of voting, more male voters turned up in the booths than women.
The LDF candidate Jaick C Thomas had to wait nearly an hour in the queue at the polling booth set up at the Kaniyankunnu Govt LP School in Manarcad. He arrived at the booth around 7.50 am and was able to cast his vote only by 8.52 am. Manarcad and Pamapady panchayat witnessed a higher turnout of voters.
The UDF candidate Chandy Oommen arrived along with his mother and sisters to cast their votes at the Puthipally Georgian Public School by 9.30 am.
There are 182 polling booths in the constituency and a 675-member police force has been deployed for polling security. There are more than 1.76 lakh registered voters in the constituency, including 90,281 women, 86,132 men, and four transgenders. Booth numbers 91, 92, 93, and 94 established at the Velloor Central Lower Primar School within Pampady police station limits have been identified as sensitive booths.
The Kerala Assembly has a total of 140 seats, where the ruling LDF has 99 seats and the UDF has 40 seats with one vacant Puthuppally assembly seat. Though the result of this bypoll will not have an effect on the Assembly composition, it is being judged as a litmus test for LDF government’s performance in the state. CPI(M) is aiming to win the seat to reach the figure of 100 MLAs in the state assembly.
The Left is hoping to breach the Congress fortress after 53 years, but the Congress is hopeful of securing a win riding on the 'anti-incumbency' wave in the state and late Oommen Chandy's legacy.
Published: 05 Sep 2023, 3:28 PM