THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: It was touted as one of the trickiest general elections the state has witnessed, due to reasons more than one. And 77.61 per cent of voters turned out to exercise their franchise, leaving the UDF and LDF with their share of apprehensions and NDA with hopes. They all now have to wait for exactly a month as the results will be announced on May 23.
Electronic voting machines developed quite a few technical snags across the state. The polling, in general, was peaceful, barring a few untoward incidents reported in the northern constituencies, such as Vadakara and Kasargod where a polling agent was stabbed. As many as 10 voters, mostly aged, died due to various reasons.
The 77.61 poll percentage is based on the provisional figures provided by the Election Commission as of 10 pm and it is likely to go up as hundreds were standing in the queue past 6 pm. The turnout is the third highest in the state’s history and it had crossed 74 in 2014. Northern districts witnessed big response with 82.87 in Kannur, 82.08 at Vadakara and 80.26 in Wayanad. Thiruvananthapuram, Pathanamthitta and Thrissur — the three constituencies which witnessed triangular contests — saw an increase of about five per cent each.
The state witnessed heavy polling right from 7 am, touching 11 per cent within two hours, 22.24 per cent by 11 am, 30.75 per cent at 12 noon and 38.81 by 1 pm. The voter turnout crossed halfway mark by 2 pm, not even once slipping into sleepy mode at any time of the day, and recorded 61.94 per cent by 4 pm. By 5 pm, the magic figure of 70 per cent was crossed and by 6 pm it rose to 73.06 per cent.
Now it is the month-long wait to know the outcome. The voting pattern in the past had indicated that an increased voter turnout would favour the UDF.In 1989, when Kerala recorded its highest ever turnout of 79.30 per cent, the UDF won 17 of the 20 seats. In 1977 too, when the second highest poll percentage (79.20) was recorded, the UDF had won 19.The third highest turnout (77.13) in 1984 saw the UDF win 15 seats. In 2009, when the state saw 73.37 per cent voting, the UDF got 16. However, in 2004, when the voting percentage was 71.45, the Left front won 18 seats.
EVM snag: CEO rejects reports
Chief Electoral Officer Teeka Ram Meena rejected reports that many EVMs developed technical snags leading to delay in voting process. He said only one per cent of the EVMs developed technical snags. “Those who raise allegations against faulty EVMs have the liability to prove the same,” said Meena, referring to an incident in the state capital.