Braving the summer heat and scare of the second wave of the pandemic, voters of Kochi enthusiastically exercised their franchise on Tuesday.
While voters queued up at booths right from the initial hours in the city, it was a slow-paced affair in the suburbs. Polling was peaceful, and no untoward incidents were reported.
Barring stray cases of technical snags in electronic voting machines (EVMs) at a few booths, polling by and large remained uninterrupted.
Though voting was disrupted for half-an-hour at Girls’ High School, Pathalam, following EVM snag, it resumed after the machine was replaced.
Health officials and student police cadre dutifully checked voters’ body temperature and gave them hand sanitisers before allowing entry to booths.
Though auxiliary booths were functional on the directions of the Election Commission, long queues of voters were seen at several centres in the city. Voters patiently waited for their turn even as senior citizens were allowed to cast vote without waiting in queues.
Polling began at a slow pace in the West Kochi area. After two-and-a-half hours of polling, only 10% of voters turned up at St. Thomas Girls’ High School, Perumanoor. Polling progressed at a snail’s pace at Our Lady’s Convent, Palluruthy, too. Armed with automatic guns, members of the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) guarded booths at the station.
There was a high turnout of voters at St. Joseph’s High School, Chullikkal.
Meanwhile, voter response in the forenoon session was not encouraging at M.M. Oriental Vocational Higher Secondary School, Panayappally, which used to witness long queues in the previous elections.
However, more than half the number of voters turned up at St. Philomena’s High School, Koonammavu, by 12 noon.
Police personnel overseeing polling at Government Upper Primary School, Valluvally, had a tough time making voters maintain physical distancing. Throwing caution to the winds, voters stood close to one another. The station witnessed nearly 40% polling by noon.
Voter inflow, however, picked up in the evening. The final hour of polling, between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m., was reserved for COVID-19 patients.