Seventy-year-old Gauthami emerged from the polling booth at SNVSUPS, Eroor, in Thripunithura Assembly constituency a sweaty and frustrated soul.
She had taken her place in the queue right at the beginning of polling only to be told that she will have to wait as the Electronic Voting Machine has developed a snag even before a single vote was cast. Eventually, the machine was replaced and polling started at around 8.15 a.m.
Gauthami was among the large number of voters who turned up at polling booths across Thripunithura Assembly constituency which witnessed a brisk start to polling.
Returning after casting his vote at his home district Malappuram, Left Democratic Front (LDF) candidate M. Swaraj said that the clichéd analysis that heavy voter turnout indicates a potential United Democratic Front (UDF) victory no longer makes any sense. “In fact, it is a sign of people’s desire to see a return of the LDF government,” he said while alleging that the sudden appearance of posters in the name of Sabarimala Karma Samithi on the eve of polling urging voters to defeat the LDF by not voting for the BJP was the handiwork of UDF candidate K. Babu who during the course of his campaign had staked claim to BJP votes. That the Samithi had disowned the posters is proof of that, Mr. Swaraj said.
Mr. Babu, however, shot down the allegations as baseless and of little consequence before exuding confidence of a victory on emerging out after casting his vote at Government Girls Higher Secondary School, Thripunithura.
Chandran, an LDF worker manning the party booth just outside the polling booth, however, predicted a defeat for Mr. Babu going as far as saying that this will turn out to be the last electoral battle for the veteran Congress leader.
Kaladharan, a voter outside the polling booth at SUVSUPS, Eroor, however, had no doubt about a UDF victory. “This constituency has seen no development other than what brought about by Mr. Babu,,” he said.
A little away at the polling booth at Pottayil Temple, a Kudumbashree worker in her green uniform said that she wanted to see Mr. Swaraj win but can’t say as much while on duty.
A BJP booth in the neighbourhood cut a solitary look except for one activist, Surendran, who predicted a victory for party candidate K.S. Radhakrishnan who, he said, will garner in excess of 60,000 votes. He, however, lamented that youngsters seem preoccupied with activism on their mobile phones and were reluctant to do the actual work on ground like manning party booths.
Rifling through the voter’s list in a jiffy, Joby, an activist at an LDF polling booth, said that voting has indeed got off to a brisk start but it was too early to draw any conclusion.
Holding on to his autistic child outside the polling booth at St. Josephs LPS, Kodamkulangara, Babu was nonchalant when asked for his prediction in the electoral battle. “Let anyone win,” was all he had to say.
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