33 lakh voters to exercise franchise

4,875 polling stations arranged in Malappuram ; live webcasting facility in 2,100 booths

About 33 lakh voters are expected to reach polling booths in Malappuram district to elect 16 representatives to the Assembly when the State goes to the polls on Tuesday.

Malappuram has the largest number of 3,321,038 voters in the State. The Tirur constituency has the largest number of voters (229,458) and Eranad (179,786) the lowest.

As many as 4,875 polling stations have been arranged, the largest number in a district in any election held in the State so far. The number of voters in a polling booth will be restricted to 1,000 in

view of the pandemic situation.

Election officials said here on Monday that 2,122 of the polling stations were auxiliary. Facilities such as power supply, drinking water and ramp for the physically challenged had been arranged in all polling stations.

Additional security would be in place in 105 booths having Maoist threat in 38 areas. There are 194 critical booths in 76 locations across the district. Nine vulnerable booths have been identified in

two locations. Election officials said that a live webcasting facility would be arranged in 2,100 booths, and full-time video recording in 86 booths.

Polling officials collected voting machines and other polling equipment from their assigned centres and proceeded to their respective polling stations by Monday afternoon.

Polling will begin at 7 a.m. on Tuesday and continue till 7 p.m. The last hour will be set apart for COVID-19 patients and those in quarantine. They can vote between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. as per COVID-19 protocol.

Polling stations will be ready by 5.30 a.m. with a mock polling to be held in the presence of polling agents. Polling percentage will be uploaded through an application at every 30 minutes.

As many as 27,108 of the 28,190 (96.17 %) absentee voters who had applied for postal ballot exercised their franchise in the district.

District polling officials said that Braille facility would be in place for visually challenged voters.

As many as 117 candidates are contesting in Malappuram. When 111 of them are contesting to 16 Assembly seats, six are contesting for the Lok Sabha. A Lok Sabha by-election is also being held in Malappuram following the resignation of Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) national general secretary P.K. Kunhalikutty.

As many as 4,875 voting machines will be deployed for the election in the district, and 4,145 kept in the reserve. As many as 44,368 polling officials, 3,483 police personnel and 3,267 special police officers

will be on duty. There will be 14 counting centres in Malappuram.

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