Thiruvanathapuram: As the crucial civic body polls are just days away in Kerala, the State Election Commission (SEC) has identified 1,850 polling booths as 'sensitive'. The SEC has decided to introduce a webcasting facility to keep a watch on the poll proceedings there.
The booths, located in all the 14 districts of the southern state, were identified as sensitive based on the report of police chief Loknath Behera. According to the statement by SEC, State Election Commissioner V Bhaskaran gave directions for webcasting in such booths based on the report
The SEC said that the poll proceedings would be videographed in the sensitive booths. Sensitive booths were identified jointly by the district election officers, district police chiefs and city police commissioners.
The videography facility would be installed in such booths, where there is no webcasting, and it would be conducted at the expense of the Election Commission.
The commission also said that either candidates or political parties can seek videography at their own expense in booths where there is no videography or webcasting, adding that they can ask permission from the district polling officials for the same.
The politically volatile Kannur, the north Kerala district has the highest number of sensitive booths-785 while Pathanamthitta has the lowest- 5. Kannur had once witnessed several political murders and clashes between political parties especially between CPI(M) and BJP,
While Thiruvananthapuram district has 180 sensitive booths, Malappuram has100, Kozhikode (120), Palakkad (182), Kasaragod (100), Wayanad (152) and so on.
Comparatively, the northern districts have the highest number of sensitive booths.
A total of 74,899 candidates including 36,305 women and one transgender, are trying their luck in the upcoming local body polls, which is considered the curtain-raiser for the Assembly polls due next year.
Malappuram district has 8,387 candidates, the highest in the state, while Wayanad has the lowest at 1,857.
While the first phase of the three-tier poll, scheduled on December 8, would cover the districts of Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha and Idukki, the second phase is on December 10.
It would be held in Kottayam, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Palakkad and Wayanad while Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur and Kasaragod would go to the polls in the third and final phase on December 14.
An electorate of over 2.76 crore would exercise their franchise to elect representatives to 941 gram panchayats, 152 block panchayats, 14 district panchayats, 86 municipalities and six municipal corporations.
The votes would be counted on December 16
(From PTI with edits)