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Rain mars bypolls


Voters wait in queue to cast their ballot in a water-seeped polling booth at Ernakulam on Monday


Thiruvananthapuram: The bypolls to the five assembly constituencies in Kerala was marred by heavy rains, especially in Ernakulam, but was incident free.

A woman was arrested in Manjeshwaram in Kasaragod for impersonation as she allegedly tried to cast bogus vote in a booth.

She was later released on bail.

As voting drew to a close at 6 PM, people in queues in various booths were allowed to vote.

Heavy rains affected voting in the early hours in Ernakulam as voters waded through water-logged roads to exercise their franchise and water seeped into some booths on Monday, while polling went off smoothly in the four other constituencies.

Chief Electoral officer Teeka Ram Meena said 10 water logged booths on the ground floor were shifted to the first floor in Kochi.

Voting in Ernakulam was not affected, he said.

Except Manjeshwaram, the constituencies of Konni, Vattiyoorkavu and Aroor were also affected by rains till noon, but worst affected was Kochi city and nearby areas in Ernakulam.

Polling percentage at 5 PM in Manjeshwaram was 66.23 per cent, in Ernakulam 53.27 per cent, Aroor 75.74 per cent, while Konni and Vattiyoorkavu recorded 66.37 per cent and 60.81 per cent respectively.

A woman voter in Kochi said this was the first time people had to exercise their franchise wading through knee deep muddy water at Ayyappankavu.

A 92-year old man who was not allowed to vote as he carried only a copy of his voter ID returned with all his identity cards to vote despite the rains.

The strength of the voters in the five constituencies is 9.57 lakh.

The ruling CPI(M)-led LDF, opposition Congress headed UDF and BJP-led NDA are the three fronts which had locked horns for the five seats.

While the bypoll to Majeshwaram was held following the death of the sitting MLA of the IUML, a coalition partner of the UDF, in the remaining four constituencies, the polls were necessiated after legislators quit following their successful foray into the Lok Sabha.

In the 140-member Kerala assembly, the ruling LDF has 92 MLAs, UDF 46, BJP one, besides an independent MLA, P C George.

One seat is reserved for a nominated member of the Anglo Indian community.

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