Thiruvananthapuram: Ernakulam and Thiruvananthapuram corporations registered the steepest drop in the number of voters who exercised their franchise in the byelections to five assembly constituencies held in the state on Monday.
Voter turnout decreased by 13.7% and 7.17% in Ernakulam and Vattiyoorkavu, in Thiruvananthapuram corporation limits, respectively. At the same time, the drop in voter turnout in Aroor (4.96%), Konni (3.12%) and Manjeswaram (0.4%) was relatively to a lesser extent, when compared to the voter turnout in assembly elections in 2016. The final voting percentage for the five constituencies in the byelections stood at 69.93% with Aroor (80.47%) witnessing the highest and Ernakulam (57.9%) the lowest. At the same time, Manjeswaram, Konni and Vattiyoorkavu registered 75.78%, 70.07% and 62.66% voter turnout respectively.
Chief electoral officer Teeka Ram Meena said the by-elections were peaceful and without any untoward incident, barring one instance of bogus voting in Manjeswaram.
He said a case has been registered against Nabeesa Aboobacker, who tried to cast a vote impersonating as another person in the same name at booth number 43 in Manjeswaram. He said that Nabeesa was a supporter of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) and her husband, an IUML leader. The election commission had arranged webcasting facility in 132 polling booths, video-graphing of poll proceedings in 125 booths and deployed 130 observers. He said that the counting of votes would begin from 8am on Thursday. Meena said that he had received a legal notice from the Nair Service Society (NSS) but added that he did not regret his comments. He had said that apolitical caste or religious outfits should not seek votes for political parties.
The NSS had sent a legal notice to Meena demanding a public apology from him. “As far as my conduct is concerned, I give respect to all organisations and I have nothing against them. I have no regrets about my statement. Since the poll is now over, I consider the matter to be closed, but if they want to continue, I will give them a reply,” Meena said.