D-day dawns as Kerala's Pala constituency set to pick KM Mani’s successor

While voting will be held from 7 am to 6 pm, polling officers deployed in all 176 booths.

Published: 23rd September 2019 10:30 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd September 2019 10:30 AM   |  A+A-

The polling officials assigned to the lone pink booth (all-woman polling booth) set up at St Vincent’s English Medium School, Kizhathadiyoor, heading to the booth after collecting polling materials from Carmel School, Pala, on Sunday

The polling officials assigned to the lone pink booth (all-woman polling booth) set up at St Vincent’s English Medium School, Kizhathadiyoor, heading to the booth after collecting polling materials from Carmel School, Pala, on Sunday

By Express News Service

KOTTAYAM: After month-long heated electioneering, byelection to the Pala assembly constituency will be held on Monday. The voting will be held from 7 am to 6 pm. The district election authorities deployed polling officers in all the 176 polling booths in the constituency and distributed polling materials on Sunday. The distribution was held at Carmel Public School, Pala. Arrangements in the booths were completed by 5 pm on Sunday.

A total of 13 candidates are in the fray, including UDF candidate Jose Tom, LDF candidate Mani C Kappan and NDA candidate N Hari, of the toughest election battles the constituency has ever witnessed. The bypoll has been necessitated following the death of Kerala Congress (M) stalwart KM Mani on April 9, 2019.

The campaign, which began with issues like development and illegal quarrying, turned into a high-octane fight between political fronts, raising several subjects including Sabarimala issue and graft allegations against each other. The results are seemingly unpredictable as all the political fronts have mobilised the entire voters in the constituency with an intense grassroot-level campaign. The entire leadership of UDF, almost all the ministers and seniors leaders of LDF and national leaders of NDA were present in the three-week-long open campaign.

The polling process will commence with a mock poll at 6 am on Monday in which the presiding officer and polling officers will check the functioning of Electronic Voting machines, control units and the computer system attached to them in the presence of election agents of the candidates in each booth.

According to authorities, 50 votes will be polled in the mock poll and the polling will commence after deleting the votes polled in the mock poll. The authorities said all the voters, who are waiting in a queue at 6 pm will be given opportunity to cast their votes.

A total of 19 sectoral officers are entrusted with the responsibility to ensure the basic facilities in booths. Global Position System will be used to track the sectoral officers from the office of the district election officer and the returning officer.

App to update election officers

The election authorities will get details of the poll percentage and other developments in the polling booths through a mobile application called ‘polling manager.’ The app, developed by the National Informatics Centre, has been installed in the mobile phones of all presiding officers. Officers are directed to upload the details right from the time of setting off to the polling booths, from the distribution centre to their return to the same centre. The polling status will be uploaded from the beginning of the voting, which will be available in the computer systems in the offices of the district election officer, returning officer and election deputy collector. An SOS system is also in place to report the situation in which polling is disrupted. Law and order issues, defects to EVMs and power supply failure can also be reported.

Mock poll

  • The polling process will commence with a mock poll at 6 am on Monday
  • According to authorities, 50 votes will be polled in the mock poll and the polling will commence after deleting the votes polled in the mock poll

High-octane campaign

The campaign, which began with issues like development and illegal quarrying, turned into a high-octane fight between political fronts, raising several subjects including Sabarimala issue and graft allegations against each other. The results are seemingly unpredictable as all the fronts have mobilised the entire voters in the constituency with an intense grassroot-level campaign

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