April 2021
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Assembly polls to 140 seats in Kerala today
Thiruvananthapuram: Battle lines drawn between the ruling CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the main Opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) in Kerala as the elections to the 140 Assembly seats will be held in a single day on Tuesday, April 6. The third Front, BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) will be a deciding factor in many seats in the State where LDF and UDF had held power alternatively over the last four decades. In 2016, the LDF won after winning 91 seats out of 140 seats. In 2011, the UDF won 72 seats, just one more than a simple majority. As the public campaign came to an end in the State on Sunday, the silent campaign will be carried out today. According to the election commission, 957 candidates are in the fray for the elections to the 140 Assembly seats.

Candidates and party workers are busy with the door-to-door campaign and making phone calls, sending voice messages seeking votes. The polling for 140 Assembly seats and one Lok Sabha constituency (Malappuram) will commence at 0700 hrs on Tuesday. Out of the 140 seats, polling will be held till 1800 hrs in 9 constituencies and 1900 hrs in 131 constituencies. Six candidates are contesting in the Lok Sabha by-polls for the Malappuram seat. Total 2,74,46,039 voters including 1,32,83,724 males, 1,41,62,025 females and 290 transgender voters will exercise their franchise tomorrow. Out of them, 5,18,520 are first-time voters. A total of 40,771 polling booths are arranged across the state. As COVID-19 protocol is in force, the last one hour of the voting is reserved for COVID patients. Visually challenged people will have the facility to cast their vote without depending on others.

Dummy ballot papers in Braille script will be arranged in every booth. Meanwhile, Kerala DGP Loknath Behra said a total of 59,292 police officials are deployed for election duty along with central forces and police personnel from other states. There are 140 companies of CISF, CRPF and BSF officials are deployed this time. Special operations group and Thunderbolt are also deployed in Naxal hit areas, the DGP said. He said 481 police stations have been divided into 142 sub-divisions in the State and are under the direct control of the 14 district police chiefs. Drone facility is also arranged in some places as part of surveillance. Counting of votes will be held on May 2. There will be a 24-hour control room at the state police headquarters to monitor the election process. Security will be tightened at the entry points in the Idukki district bordering Tamil Nadu to monitor people who are entering Kerala on April 5 and 6.

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