Kerala local body elections: Final phase today

Voting is underway for the third and final phase of Kerala local body elections in the four southern districts — Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur and Kasaragod. The third phase of polling involves 273 grama panchayats, 44 block panchayats, four district panchayats, 31 municipalities and two corporations. Voting has opened at 7 am and will close at 6 pm.

According to State Election Commission (SEC) V Bhaskaran, there are 89,74,993 voters in the final round, including 42,87,597 men, 46,87,310 women and 86 transgenders. “Those who are Covid positive and those in quarantine and in the certified list can vote directly at the polling station by presenting a certificate issued by the Designated Health Officer of the Department of Health during last hour of polling,” the SEC added. Following the death of the candidates, the polls in Tathur Poyil (11) in Kozhikode Mavoor Grama Panchayat and Thillankeri (7) in Kannur District Panchayat has been postponed. 36,72,206 men, 38,51,350 women and 15 transgenders exercised their franchise. Counting of the all three phases will be held on December 16.

The elections are taking place at a time when the state is battling COVID-19 pandemic and the Election Commission has put in place strict norms to ensure adherence to COVID-19 safety norms. In the second phase of elections which took place on Thursday, held in five districts, the state recorded a voter turnout of 76.38 per cent. in the first phase of Kerala local body polls held on Tuesday, a voter percentage of 72.67 per cent was recorded. The election assumes much significance as it being held four months before the assembly elections due in April-May.