All arrangements are in place for the Chengannur Assembly byelection on Monday.
The voting will commence at 7 a.m. and go on till 6 p.m. Officials said that polling officers had collected polling materials from Chengannur Christian College and reached the 181 polling booths, including 17 auxiliary booths. Of the total booths, 22 have been identified as sensitive.
In order to ensure transparency and monitoring of any untoward incidents, measures have been taken to webcast all proceedings from the sensitive polling booths on the election day. The security has been tightened in the constituency, officials said.
The Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) will be used at all polling stations. Additional EVMs and VVPAT machines have been kept as reserve in case of malfunctioning. To exercise franchise, electorates should produce the Electoral Photo ID Card (EPIC) or any of the 12 documents prescribed by the election commission, officials said.
The Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System (ETPBS) for service voters will be used for the first time in the State in the Chengannur Assembly bypoll. There are 797 service voters in the constituency. The system enables a service voter to exercise his/her franchise using an electronically received postal ballot from anywhere outside their constituency.
The byelection was necessitated following the death of Communist Party of India (Marxist) MLA K.K. Ramachandran Nair. As many as 1,99,340 voters will decide the fate of 17 candidates who are in the fray. The main candidates are Saji Cherian (LDF), D. Vijayakumar (UDF) and P.S Sreedharan Pillai (NDA).
The ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) is eyeing to retain the seat, while the United Democratic Front (UDF) is trying to wrest the seat it had lost in 2016 Assembly poll, after several years of dominance. Making it a triangular fight, the NDA, which came a close third in 2016 is hoping for a surprise victory.
Although the election result will not have any impact on the LDF’s majority in the Assembly, the outcome is significant for the ruling front as it is seen as an assessment of the two-year-old State government.
The counting of votes will take place on May 31.