First phase of civic polls commenced in Kerala …..Unique Times
In Kerala, the first phase of local body polls in seven districts commenced this morning with heavy rains playing spoilsport in various parts of Thiruvananthapuram. Seen as the semi-finals, prior to the next year’s Assembly polls, the crucial polls saw both the Congress-led UDF and LDF, spearheaded by CPI-M, going all out to woo voters. Polling began at 7 AM at Kollam, Idukki, Kozhikode, Wayanad, Kasaragod, Kannur and Thiruvananthapuram with over one crore voter’s legible to exercise their votes by 5 PM. Speaking to reporters after casting his vote at a booth in Kannur district, CPI (M) politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan, claimed the election can see the end of the Congress-led front in the state, whereas KPCC President V M Sudheeran expressed confidence of the front’s good performance. BJP’s move to break the bipolar polity within the state with the support of Ezhava outfit Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam (SNDP) also gives an added significance to the civic polls. Former Union ministers Mullappally Ramachandran, O Rajagopal, Kodikunnil Suresh and state health minister V S Sivakumar was first among the voters. In the first phase, a total of 31,161 candidates, including 582 in district panchayats, 2,844 in block panchayats, 22,788 in village panchayats, 1,315 in corporations and 3632 in municipalities are seeking their poll prospects. As per the state Election Commission figures, there are 1,11,11,006 voters in these seven districts. The polls in the remaining seven districts – Alappuzha, Thrissur, Pathanamthitta, Ernakulam, Kottayam, Malappuram and Palakkad – will be held in the second phase on November 5. The counting will on November 7. Meanwhile, a man, waiting in the queue to cast his franchise in Kasaragod district, collapsed and died on the way to hospital, police said.
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