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Assembly elections: Kerala 70% voting recorded in single-phase, Over 63% in TN and around 78% in Puducherry

Kerala recorded about 70 per cent, Tamil Nadu above 63 per cent and Puducherry registered around 78 per cent voting in the single phase Assembly polls.

In Kerala, amid COVID restrictions high polling is being reported in the assembly election to 140 constituencies and in the Lok Sabha by-poll in Malappuram.  Over 73.58 per cent polling was recorded in the state. In 2016 assembly election, the voter turnout in the state was 77.53 per cent. This time the northern districts of Kerala- Kannur, Kozhikode and Palakkad recorded the highest voter turnout. The Nemom, Vattiyoorkav, Kazhakkoottam, Konni, Palakkad and Manjeswaram constituencies, where strong triangular fight is on between the three major fronts LDF, UDF and NDA also, recorded high polling.

Polling was peaceful across the state barring some minor clashes reported at different places. In a few polling stations, voting was briefly halted due to the malfunctioning of EVMs. COVID protocol has been strictly adhered across the state. COVID patients and quarantined voters cast their votes in the final hour of polling. Prominent leaders from major political parties expressed confidence of winning the elections.
 
In Tamilnadu, Polling for the single phase assembly elections went off peacefully. Polling began at 7 in the morning and will end at seven in the evening. In the morning voting began at a slow pace and gathered momentum as the sun went down. The sweltering heat of summer did take a sizable time for the voters, making them stay at home for a longer period. The voting percentage was below nine per cent till 10 am. Leaders cast their votes in their respective constituencies all through the State. The voters strictly adhered to the COVID protocols while exercising their franchise.

AIR Correspondent reports, the prominent contestants include AIADMK leaders Palanisamy O. Paneerselvam, DMK leaders M K Stalin, Durai Murugan, PMK leaders G K Mani, Dr Anbumani Ramadoss, BJP leaders L Murugan, H Raja, Vanathi Srinivasan, Khusboo MNM Founder Kamal Hassan AMMK Founder TTV Dhinakaran, DMDK leader Premalatha Vijaykant voted in their respective constituencies.

The Election Commission also ensured that no one is left out and focussed on maximum voting. Arrangements were done in all polling booths to handle COVID cases and gloves were distributed to voters by health workers and volunteers on duty. The last hour was reserved for the Covid patients. Over 3600 persons have tested positive for COVID in the state today. The health department has said that family gatherings, public events and campaigning have all contributed to the rise in COVID clusters. Testing and treatment facilities have been increased all over the state. The Principal Health Secretary has said that door to door screening will be done from tomorrow to check the spread of the virus.
 
In the Union Territory of Puducherry brisk polling started in all the 30 constituencies at 7 am this morning. There was a gradual increase in the polling and at 12.30 pm poll picked up. AIR Correspondent reports, Puducherry former Chief Minister Narayanasamy, NR Congress leader and Thattanchavady candidate Rengasamy, BJP Lawspet candidate Saminathan, Emblem Congress candidate and former Minister Kandasamy, DMK former legislator and Villaiyanoor candidate Siva among others, exercise their franchise before 11 o’clock.

COVID-19 pandemic protocol was strictly followed here. All the polling stations were well sanitized. Voters came with face masks only allowed inside the booths and social distancing was maintained in the polling station. Thermal temperature check- up was also done. Hand sanitizers and gloves also given to the voters in the booths. As a special arrangement, the COVID patients were allowed to vote evening 6 pm to 7 pm and in view of the safety and security of the polling Officials, 2 of them were given special dress to assist the patients to cast their votes. 1558 control units, 1677 ballot units and 1558 VVPATs used in this election. 6835 polling staff, 4811 security personnel along with 40 companies of CRPF were deployed.

On the political side, the congress and N R Congress are having a straight  fight in nine constituencies, five with DMK, one with CPI and one with Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi. The BJP is fighting against Congress in 5 constituencies and against DMK in four. The AIADMK is locking horns with DMK in four constituencies and against the congress in one constituency. No woman candidate was given a seat in the BJP and AIADMK. The congress gave tickets to the sitting member Vijayaveni and N R Congress to 2 women candidates. The Naam Tamizhar Katchi gave chance to 14 women and the Makkal Neethi Maiam (MNM) to 3 women. So far it was a smooth election here. The polling was peaceful in all the four regions of the union territory and came to a close at 7 pm. The counting of votes will be held on May 2nd.

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