THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Voters in the district’s coastal belt turned up in large numbers to help register a polling percentage of 69.77 despite the coronavirus pandemic. The polling booths in the coastal region received a weak response to begin with as fishermen, and women involved in the sale of fish, were busy with their work.
By 10am, the men started turning up at the booths after returning from fishing. There was a six per cent difference between the votes of men and women in the first two hours. Mary Joseph, a 65-year-old fisherwoman from Valiyathura, said the women there usually vote in the afternoon. The gap narrowed to less than two per cent by the time voting ended. “We are engaged in sales till 1pm. Then, we go to our respective houses to freshen up and leave for the polling booths by 3pm,” Mary said.
The coastal community has never been shy of expressing their political allegiance. This time, political parties supplied them with T-shirts and caps at the polling booths. Though the booths followed the Covid-19 protocol, the situation was entirely different outside.
Voters who returned from polling booths started buying fish and vegetables from the already crowded roadside markets in Valiyathura and Poonthura. People were seen crowding at the party booths to collect slips. Though instructions were given to wear mask and not to bring children to the booths, the directives were rarely followed. Most crowding was noticed at Poonthura, which was declared a Covid super spread location in 2020.3
Varkala (69.88%), Chirayinkeezhu (70.52%), Kazhakoottam (69.46%), Thiruvananthapuram (61.69%), Nemom (69.65%), Kovalam (70.49%), Neyyattinkara (71.90%)