Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Heavy turnout in Kerala by-election

More than 80% voters turned up to vote in the Thiruvambady assembly by-election which is considered the first litmus test for the six-month-old Left Democratic Front government in Kerala.

The main rivals, LDF’s George M Thomas and the United Democratic Front’s V M Ummer Master exuded confidence.

The polling was peaceful. Opposition Leader Oommen Chandy also expressed satisfaction over the conduct of "free and fair election". Digital cameras installed in all booths recorded the proceedings.

The polling was held under heavy security, with the deployment of five companies of the Central Reserve Police Force, four battalions of the Armed Reserve Police and one battalion of the Malabar Special Police. The counting will begin at 8am on Thursday.

The LDF had won the seat in May for the second time since the constituency was formed in 1977. The election was necessitated after the Communist Party of India (Marxist)’s Mathai Chacko died in October.

Also in the fray are Bharatiya Janata Party’s Gireesh Thevally and three independents. The stakes are high for both the LDF led by the CPM and the Congress-led UDF.


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