Counting centre turns a theatre of emotions

The counting centre at Mar Ivanios Vidya Nagar at Nalanchira here witnessed varied emotions on Wednesday as vote counting for the Thiruvananthapuram city Corporation polls appeared to go down to the wire, albeit for the initial stages of the exercise.

An air of excitement prevailed outside the Sarvodaya Vidyalaya ICSE School where the initial hours saw a large gathering, comprising candidates, polling agents and media persons. Nonetheless, the district administration’s efforts to restrict entry to the counting halls on account of the COVID-19 protocol succeeded to a large extent. The large posse of police personnel bolstered these measures as they permitted only those who were issued passes by the district authorities.

First result

Many people were glued to a large screen erected outside the counting centre to keep track of the electoral trends. Bringing an end to a long, anxious wait, the first result was announced by around 9.15 a.m. when the counting officials declared Sudheer of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) the winner in the Beemapally East ward that was previously held by the United Democratic Front (UDF). A sizeable group of Left Democratic Front (LDF) activists who were gathered outside the campus premises soon burst into celebrations.

Victory revelry and sloganeering continued to pick up outside the main entrance as the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) inched close to the LDF, suggesting the possibility of a neck-and-neck finish. Throwing restraint necessitated by such pandemic-stricken times in the air, the activists of both the coalitions competed against each other in jamboree from either side of the MC Road as the leads ebbed and flowed with counting progressing through various rounds.

While they remained helpless in preventing crowds from building up, the police focused their energies on regulating vehicular flow along the road.

Early hopes

Buoyed by the trends midway through the exercise, M.R. Gopan, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) parliamentary party leader in the outgoing council, exuded confidence of a BJP victory. “Though we might not be able to achieve our target of over 60 seats, we are certain to emerge the largest coalition,” he said.

However, what followed put paid to such hopes as the LDF romped home, rather comfortably, to go past the half-way mark and gain a clear majority.

‘Result of good work’

Rakhi Ravikumar, the outgoing Deputy Mayor, who won from the Vazhuthacaud ward yet again, attributed the resounding victory to the performances of both the previous council and the LDF government. The electorate had responded to the baseless allegations levelled by the Opposition parties, she added.

While many candidates of the UDF were conspicuous by their absence, some others could be seen making silent exits from the counting centre.

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