Pala (Kerala): Polling for the bypoll to Kerala’s Pala Assembly constituency ended peacefully at 6 p.m. on Monday.
The Assembly bypoll was necessitated following the death of sitting Kerala Congress (Mani) MLA K.M. Mani in April. The constituency will see a new MLA after a gap of 54 years, as Mani had represented Pala since 1965.
While the final voting percentage is expected to be announced later, preliminary reports from the Chief Electoral Officer indicate that it has crossed the 71 per cent mark. A total of 1,79,107 electorate will decide the fate of 13 candidates.
In the 2016 Assembly elections, 77.25 per cent of the electorate had cast their votes, while in this year’s Lok Sabha polls, Pala recorded a turnout of 72 per cent.
Despite rains coming down hard in the afternoon, people came out in good numbers to cast their votes. The counting of votes will take place on Friday.
Among the candidates in fray, Mani’s closest aide Jose Tom Pullikunnel is contesting as a candidate of the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF). The BJP has fielded its Kottayam district President N. Hari, while the Left is backing Nationalist Congress Party’s local leader Mani C. Kappen.
Pullikunnel was spotted with his family members casting his vote at a polling booth. He expressed confidence that he will romp home with more votes than what Mani had secured in 2016.
Kappen said that he would be the winner this time, as the electorate in Pala wants a change.
Hari also exuded confidence that a surprise was in the offing.