Deciding vote

70-year-old Sarada G, who was seen leaving the booth alone, has little hope of improvement in her whoever comes to power

Published: 09th December 2020 06:08 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th December 2020 06:08 AM   |  A+A-

Social distancing norms went for a toss at the majority of polling stations in the district on Tuesday.  A scene at Government HSS, Azhoor| BP Deepu

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Despite the pandemic, people came out in large numbers to exercise their right to vote in the local body elections. They were seen thronging the polling booths, especially in the coastal belt and suburban areas where the police had a hard time enforcing social distancing norms. As many as 3,281 polling stations were set up in the district

Despite apprehensions created by Covid-19 pandemic, polling booths at Azhoor, Kayikkara, Anchuthengu, Perumathura, Valiyathura, Ambalathara, Kuriathi, Chalai, Shankhumukham, Vettucaud, and Poovar witnessed crowding, especially during the morning hours. According to officials, this may be because people were scared of going to vote in the evening, because Covid-19 positive voters would come to vote at the same time. It is learnt that all political parties had also  campaigned to encourage voters to cast their votes before noon, fearing a decline in the voting percentage.

Padmakumari, a voter who came along with her family at Kuriyathi polling booth at the Government LPS was heavily crowded. “The compound is too small. They allow only three voters at a time inside. The school compound was filled with voters. We couldn’t maintain social distancing at all,” says Padmakumari. A police official on duty at Kuriyathi polling booth said that the State Election Commission and the health department should have vetted the premises before setting up the polling booths. 

“There are many congested polling booths in the district. The authorities should have avoided allotting such places for voting. We should not forget that the state is still fighting the pandemic,” said the official, who was helplessly watching the congested premises of the polling booth.

68-year-old Leela Thankappan was seen limping towards the auto-rickshaw she came in, with the help of the driver at Sasthamangalam polling station. “Though I have trouble walking, I didn’t want to miss exercising my right to vote. I have never missed a vote in my entire life. I don’t venture out much because of the pandemic. I feel more safe now as cases are coming down,” says Leela. 

Many polling stations within the city limits were less crowded. Some candidates were expecting only half the voters to cast their votes because of the pandemic threat. The polling station at Sasthamangalam ward, which has around 8,600 voters, witnessed a huge turnout during the morning hours. The security measures were high as the booth had three VIP voters -- MLA V S Sivakumar, MP Suresh Gopi and MLA K Sabarinadhan. 

70-year-old Sarada G, who was seen leaving the booth alone, has little hope of improvement in her whoever comes to power. “I live in a tin roof home and still dream for a safe shelter. All these political parties come to me only during elections and they promise me a better home always,” Sarada adds.

3,281polling stations in the district 

2,467polling stations in three-tier panchayat

as seen around
Polling booths in suburban areas witnessed crowding in the morning hours 
Polling booths in the city limits were less crowded due to the pandemic threat
Though T’Puram corporation had 653 polling booths, several were congested. Officials say the State Election Commission should have vetted the premises


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