KOCHI: With Ernakulam constituency witnessing a tight three-cornered poll battle, the candidates are keen to ensure voters turn out in large numbers. But the situation at three booths in the constituency is causing concern among candidates.
Polling booths 120, 121 and 122 located at Kendriya Vidyalaya in Kochi Naval Base had recorded the lowest polling percentage during 2016 assembly polls. As per reports of EC, only 272 of the 1,663 registered voters at booth number 120 exercised their franchise in 2016. The polling percentage was a meagre 16.36. In 2011, it was just 53 per cent.
At booth number 121, only 486 of the 1,561 registered voters exercised their franchise recording a measly 31.13 per cent. At booth number 122, only 732 of the 1,456 voters cast their votes. The voters at these booths constitute mainly of Navy service personnel and people residing at Vathuruthy, a residential area close to Kochi Naval Base. According to party leaders, most voters are non-Keralites and they are least interested in exercising their franchise.
“The Navy authorities don’t allow us to enter the premises and interact with voters, citing security problems. There is no way for us to contact them. The Navy also does not motivate the service personnel to cast their votes,” said Suresh, a BJP worker residing at Vathuruthy.
Denying the allegation, Navy spokesperson Sridhar Warrier said, the Navy conducted a voter awareness campaign for service personnel. “We are ready to grant conditional entry to party workers so they can meet the voters residing here. In 2016, we had allowed two groups to enter the premises after they sought permission. But this time no political party contacted us,” he said.