High voter turnout and glitches in electronic voting machines (EVMs) in a number of places marked the Lok Sabha elections in the Alappuzha and Mavelikara constituencies on Tuesday.
77.8% of 13,567,01 lakh electorates exercised their franchise in the Alappuzha constituency, while 72.88% of 13,07,801 voters cast their ballots in Mavelikara.
Polling continued at several booths even after 7 p.m. The voting percentage is likely to go up as the Election Commission has not yet released the final figures. In 2014, the Alappuzha and Mavelikara seats registered 78.55% and 71.36% voter turnout respectively.
EVMs developed snag at several polling stations in the district. Voting was delayed at least in two polling booths in Thalavady and one booth each in Edathua, Thakazhy and Mulakuzha in Mavelikara constituency following glitches in EVMs.
Similar issues were also reported from polling stations in Ambalapuzha, Kayamkulam, Karoor, Mararikulam, and Cherthala in Alappuzha constituency.
Soon after the voting commenced at a booth at Kizhakke Nalpathu, near Cherthala, allegations were raised that all votes were being cast for the BJP even as the button was pressed for another candidate. District Collector S. Suhas, however, denied the allegations and said that the ballot unit was replaced following a ‘press error’ during the mock poll.
A voter collapsed and died following voting at Kandiyoor UP School. The deceased was identified as Prabhakaran, 74. Although, he was taken to a nearby hospital, his life could not be saved.
Officials said that the polling was largely peaceful barring minor issues. UDF candidate Shanimol Usman was blocked at Cheravally High School, Kayamkulam allegedly by LDF activists.
The voting started at 7 a.m. on a brisk note with 11.97% and 11.94% turnout registered in the first two hours in Alappuzha and Mavelikara Lok Sabha constituencies respectively. Voters, including women, turned out in large numbers to cast their votes. All voters who reached the polling station by 6 p.m. were allowed to exercise their franchise.
Former Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan, JSS leader K.R. Gouri, Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala, Public Works Minister G. Sudhakaran, Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac, Food and Civil Supplies Minister P. Thilothaman, K.C. Venugopal, MP, Ms. Usman, LDF candidate A.M. Ariff, SNDP Yogam general secretary Vellappally Natesan, actor Fahadh Faasil and director Faasil cast their votes in their respective polling booths in the district.
The Election Commission had arranged 45 model and 45 women-friendly polling stations in the district.