Kochi: Voting for the second phase of three-phase local body election began in five districts of Kerala on Thursday, amid tight security and COVID-19 guidelines in place.
The polling which began at 0700 hours will end at 1800 hours.
Strict COVID guidelines, including use of sanitisers and gloves, mandatory wearing of masks, maintaining proper distance while queueing up in front of polling stations are being followed.
Polling began in 12,643 booths of Kottayam, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Palakkad and Wayanad districts.
Webcasting has also been introduced in 473 ‘problematic’ election booths in these districts.
The polling is being held for 8,116 wards in 451 local bodies across five districts. The State Election Commission (SEC) has deployed 63,187 officials for election duties.
SEC sources said 98,57,208 lakh people — 47,28,489 male voters, 51,28,361 female voters, 265 Pravasis and 93 transgenders –were expected to exercise their franchise.
In the second phase, 57,895 new voters are expected to exercise their franchise today.
In Ernakulam district, 7,255 candidates including 400 candidates in Kochi Corporation are contesting the election.
COVID-19 patients who were included in the certified list will be allowed to cast their votes in their respective polling booths during the last hour of polling this evening.
The term of elected representatives to 1200 local bodies, except Mattannur Municipality had ended on November 11. However, the election schedule was postponed to December due to COVID pandemic.
In the third phase of election on December 14, polling will be held in Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur and Kasaragod districts.
The counting will be taken up on December 16.