Heavy rains dampened voting for bypolls to the five Assembly constituencies in Kerala on Monday as the India Meteorological Department (IMD) predicted the showers to continue through the day. Orange alert was issued in 12 Kerala Districts amid polls.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Monday issued an orange alert and predicted heavy to very heavy rainfall for two days in 12 districts of Kerala including Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Alappuzha, Pathanamthitta, Kottayam, Idukki, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Palakkad, Malappuram, Kozhikode and Wayanad.
The worst affected were Ernakulam and Konni constituencies where voter turnout was very low.
An orange alert means to be prepared to face any situation arising out of severe weather condition.
After five hours of polling, the voter turnout in the rain-hit five assembly by-elections in Kerala touched 30 per cent as the Congress and BJP put up a brave face with the CPI-M looking confident of a good show.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) predicted the showers to continue throughout the day. The worst affected was Ernakulam assembly constituency where voting at 12 noon touched a mere 20.80 per cent.
The other constituencies affected by rains are Vatiyoorkavu (voting 30.03 per cent), Aroor (35.65 per cent) and Konni (35.07 per cent).
Tika Ram Meena, the Kerala’s Chief Electoral Officer said, “A few polling stations have been shifted from the ground floor to the first floor in Ernakulam Assembly constituency. Around 500 officials, including police, are making the arrangements. We will wait for the reports from the district collectors of the constituencies. We have made arrangements to transport voters to the polling stations in some places. If needed, we will extend the polling time as well.”
Voters expressed their ire as they were unable to go out and cast their ballots.
“There’s water all around us and how could we go out and vote when we are worried about our belongings? We are waiting for authorities to come,” said an angry resident of a colony near here, where there are 87 families who are trapped.
“In all these years, I have not lost the opportunity to cast my vote. I have never seen such rain on a voting day in my life, but I am determined to vote,” said a 78-year-old nun, who arrived at a flooded polling station in Ernakulam.
In Konni, a constituency with a hilly terrain, voters living in higher areas are finding it hard to reach polling stations after flooding left several roads unmotorable.
A total of 9,57,509 voters, including 4,91,455 women, 4,66,047 men and seven transgenders, are deciding the fate of 35 candidates at 846 polling stations in Vatiyoorkavu, Aroor, Konni, Ernakulam and Manjeswaram.
Chief Electoral Officer Tikka (CEO) Ram Meena on Monday sought a report from the Ernakulam district collector over problems faced by voters in the Assembly constituency due to heavy rains.
According to official reports from the CEO’s office, only a meagre 2.5 per cent votes were registered 90 minutes after the polling began.
Several parts of the constituency were now water logged following the heavy rains since morning.
Polling began at 7 am and will go on till 6.30 p.m. in the state.