Lok Sabha elections: Clear message in record polling; women voters keep all guessing

Sabarimala issue resulted in higher voter turnout in Pathanamthitta; Rahul factor in Wayanad.

Published: 24th April 2019 01:57 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th April 2019 01:57 AM   |  A+A-

Due to Maoist threat, armed security force keeps vigil at a polling station in Wayanad | TP SOORAJ

Express News Service

KOCHI: Voters in Kerala had to say something decisive. The record turnout in Kerala for the Lok Sabha polls - 77.61 per cent against the 74.04 per cent in 2014 - show unambiguously that the electorate is up to something; a clear message they want to convey. It’s just that we will have to wait till May 23 to know what they wanted to say. “The sharp increase in the turnout is mainly owing to the strong triangular contest in many constituencies.

Because of this, all the three fronts ensured their supporters have come out to cast their votes. But, more importantly, I feel this election turnout shows this is a deviating election; deviating from the norm. Something is up in the sleeves of the electorate, which will be known only when the results come out,” said J Prabhash, political observer and former Kerala University pro-vice-chancellor. He said the earlier analysis that it’s advantage UDF if the election turnout increases was no longer applicable now.


“Before the 1980s, it used to be considered that the UDF will gain when the election turnout increases. It used to be considered that a cadre-based LDF will ensure that a maximum number of their cadre cast their votes while the Congress and the UDF supporters may not be that keen to register their votes,” Prabhash said. However, Sabarimala issue may have forced women to come out in large numbers to cast their votes, especially in Pathanamthitta and Thrissur.

Small wonder, Pathanamthitta, which was at the centre of the Sabarimala agitation, saw its highest voter turnout this time with over 10 lakh voters casting their votes. As per the official information, women voters outnumbered men in this keenlywatched constituency where Anto Antony of the UDF, Veena George of the LDF and K Surendran of the NDA are involved in a triangular fight. Said P Sujathan, another political observer: “Earlier, the women would not have any say in the political discourse at home. Now with heated debates in news channels, women are aware of the political developments and are capable of thinking independently. Sabarimala issue is a good example.”

ALSO READ | Kerala Lok Sabha elections | Over 73% voter turnout in state, 9 collapse and die

This may be the reason for a sharp six percentage points rise in polling in Pathanamthitta compared to 2014. Likewise, independent factors may have influenced the rise in voting percentage in other constituencies as well. For instance, in Wayanad, Congress president Rahul Gandhi is considered the reason for the surge in the turnout. “No doubt, Rahul factor is the reason for the spike in turnout in Wayanad. We are expecting the final figure to touch 82 per cent,” said K P Anilkumar, KPCC general secretary, who is in-charge of UDF’s Wayanad election campaign.

Poll Round-UP


1) Minor EVM failures were reported in 90 polling booths in Vadakara constituency. 
2) In a both located in Koyilandy, polling commenced only at 12.15 pm due to EVM failure. Likewise, the EVM machine reportedly failed four times at booth number 136 in Vadakara. 
3)Two people collapsed and died during the voting process
81.45% in 2014

78.63%in 2019

A higher voter turnout in Thalassery and Koothuparamba comes as a relief to the LDF as it expects a major chunk of votes for Jayarajan to come from these two constituencies in Kannur.


1) Technical errors in voting machines delayed polling in many booths in the district
2) Around 53 cases relating to failure of voting machines were reported. These included eight cases of defunct control unit

2014 - 73.26% 
2019 - 80.26%


The presence of Rahul Gandhi, coupled with a high-voltage triangular contest increased voter turnout in the constituency may help the UDF in the electoral battle. 

Lower voter turnout comes as a dampener for the LDF which is attempting to stall M K Raghavan’s hat-trick win through a powerful anti-incumbency wave. 


2014 - 73.58%
2019 - 76.75%

1) Polling was delayed in nearly 9 booths which  developed technical snags with EVMs
2) No deaths were reported

There is a minor increase in poll percent . Both the major Fronts LDF and UDF are expecting a victory here


1) Fake message that all votes cast goes to BJP at Kizhakke Nalpathil booth in Cherthala Assembly constituency
2) LDF-League clash at booth No 1 in Ambalappuzha Assembly constituency
3) LDF activists block UDF candidate Shanimol Usman at booth No 90

2014 - 78.56%
2019 - 76.69% 

The increase in polling percentage may increase the margin of UDF in Alappuzha.


1)  Glitches in EVM and VVPAT machines delayed polling in 25-odd stations. 
2) A polling officer had to be replaced after he fainted in Rameshwaram

Edge-of-the-seat battle in Kasargod. UDF-dominated areas saw voter turnout rise by nearly two per cent. In Kanhangad and Trikaripur, where the CPM is strong, the turnout fell, which may make the Left jittery.


1  In booth 134 of RVLP school at Kayiliyad, in Chalavara panchayat, where M B Rajesh was scheduled to vote, the polling began only at 8.45 am, following technical glitches
1  In booth 79, it was found that the photo and symbol of the NDA candidate C Krishnakumar were covered with a sticker. The sticker was removed and the polling continued at the booth

There is a dip in Palakkad segment - a UDF stronghold. The LDF could retain the seat with a small margin. 


Joyce George MP (CPM Independent) 46842, 45102, 53647, 62363, 51233, 68100, 54351, postal voting -381, total vote-382019.
Adv. Dean Kuriakose (INC) 52414, 47578, 44526, 39671, 54321, 43873, 48372, postal voting -722, the total votes -331477.
Sabu Varghese (BJP) 8137, 7349, 5592, 5896, 12332, 4752, 6347, postal vote -33, total vote -50438.
The voter turnout was 73.43 per cent (men) and 68.07 per cent  (women) 


1) Voting delayed by one hour due to EVM complaint in booth 130, of Thripanoor school, in Alathur. 
2) One hour delay in booth 118 due to VVPAT error

The percentage is lower in the LDF bastions of Alathur and Tarur. The UDF seems better placed here.  


1) Machine failures occurred in more than 10 polling booths, polling delayed due to time taken for replacement 
2) Clashes between party workers in Vadakkekkad and Chelakkara

Irinjalakkuda is a major constituency that may play a crucial role in increasing the margin of the UDF.  Overall increase is expected to influence the vote share of NDA


1) A Left supporter has raised a complaint against returning officer of Meenadathil Government High School near Tanur for not allowing him to cast vote even though he turned up at the polling station before 6 pm.

High voting percentage will be an advantage for the UDF as Ponnani is a strong fort for the IUML and it indicates an upper hand for the IUML candidate


1) EVMs in nearly 8 booths developed technical snag
2)  One voter collapsed to death at a booth in Aluva

3) Polling was delayed in some other parts of the constituency due to faulty EVMs 

The UDF camp believe that the increase in poll per cent will favour its candidate Benny Behnan .


1) Polling was delayed by three hours at a booth in Nannanbara panchayat due to faulty EVM

2) Polling was delayed in some other parts of the constituency due 
to faulty EVMs 

More voting percentage means a clear advantage for the UDF. For the past few years, Malappuram has been registering over 70 per cent vote.


1) A case of bogus voting was detected at Pattathanam in Kollam. A woman who arrived to vote learnt that someone already had cast her vote on her behalf.  A probe has been ordered.
2) Snag-hit EVMs delayed voting process. 

The UDF camp claimed that the higher voter turnout was out of support for its candidate N K Premachandran, though LDF rejected the claim as baseless


1) Congress booth agents challenging large number of votes claiming these to be double entry
2) Faulty EVMs led to delay in voting in six booths in different parts of the constituency 

With the advent of Adoor Prakash and Sobha Surendran UDF and NDA candidates respectively, election became tight and a photo finish with Adoor Prakash having a slight edge highlighted


1) EVM glitches have been reported from many polling stations.  
2) DCC president Satheeshan Pacheni alleged the CPM indulged in false voting in around 100 booths in the district

The high polling in the constituency shows the intensity of the fight and the importance given by each front


1) Pathanamthitta for the first time recorded over 10 lakh votes. More voters were women compared to men. 
2) About 500 voters of Ponthanpuzha forest area, boycotted the election in protest against title deeds issue. 

Huge turnout is a clear indication of consolidation of votes in favour of NDA and it will be beneficial for BJP candidate


1) Polling was disrupted in 85 booths after EVMs developed technical glitches in 23 centers and failure of VVPAT machines was reported in 62 booths. 
2They were all replaced with new machines

2)  UDF dominated Assembly segments like Puthuppally, Kottayam, Pala and Kaduthuruthi, recorded significant increase this time. 


1) EVMs developed glitches in more than 10 booths 
2) One collapsed to death at a polling booth in Kandiyoor panchayat 

In a tight fight, the swing can go in any direction. But the left camp claim the higher turnout will help them


1) A voter was arrested and released on bail following his failure to prove his complaint regarding faulty EVM machine 
2) Complaint in Kovalam regarding a VVPAT machine displaying lotus symbol while the voter polled for hand symbol. Allegations were refuted by collector

With the left camp claiming of having polled all its votes to the left candidate, possibility of NDA candidate Kummanam Rajashekharan getting the edge


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