The anxious wait for the results of a high-stakes battle between the Kerala Congress (M) splinter groups is finally set to be out.
Counting of votes for the local body polls in Kottayam will begin at 17 centres across the district at 8 a.m. on Wednesday. Arrangements have been also made at the District Panchayat Hall for counting the postal votes polled in the district panchayat divisions. The proceedings will be led by District Collector M. Anjana. The Collector will declare the results in all divisions of the local body and issue certificates.
Meanwhile, postal votes and special postal votes polled in the block panchayats, grama panchayats and municipalities will be counted at the respective counting centres under the leadership of the Electoral Officers.
The authorities on Tuesday carried out disinfection drives at all counting centres.
As per the estimates by the State Election Commission (SEC), the district recorded a voter turnout of 73.95% in the elections held on December 10 as against 79.04% recorded in 2015. The sharp difference in the overall voter turnout, which stands around 5.09 percentage points, has left all three major coalitions baffled. They, however, count on the latest trend to work to their advantage .
While the United Democratic Front and the Left Democratic Front are confident of winning a majority in the 22-member district panchayat, the National Democratic Alliance is hopeful of making a huge progress in several panchayats, besides the Kottayam municipality.
Considering its ramifications in the Assembly elections due next year, the outcome of the local body polls in Kottayam has become so crucial for the splinter groups of the KC(M), which are pitted against one another in several seats. The group led by Jose K. Mani has fielded candidates in 424 seats, including 327 panchayat and 41 municipal wards. The P.J. Joseph faction contests from 320 seats, including 242 panchayat and 33 municipal wards.
The Kerala Janapaksham led by P.C. George, MLA, is hopeful about playing the kingmaker’s role in the Erattupetta municipality, besides winning a couple of district panchayat divisions.