While it may have looked like the enthusiasm and the crowd at polling booths across Puthuppally on the polling day was far higher than the Assembly elections in 2021, the official figures tell a different story.
The final estimates provided by the election authority put the overall polling percentage at 72.86%, mush less than 74.9% recorded in 2021. As many as 1,28,535 voters of the 1,76, 412 on the enrolment list cast their votes.
This drop, which follows a three-week long campaign blitzkrieg, was unexpected and the major contenders appear unsure as to what impact it will have on the final outcome.
The Left Democratic Front maintained that the coalition could discern a positive response as the pattern of voting did not reflect any anti-government tendencies despite the best attempts by the United Democratic Front and the National Democratic Alliance to tarnish its image.
“The core support base of LDF turned up as whole, which means that the UDF should worry about the low percentage,” said an LDF leader.
UDF leaders, on the other hand, appeared unfazed by the fall in percentage as the actual number of voters stood much higher than in 2016. Accusing the LDF of taking anticipatory bail ahead of its defeat, a senior Congress leader said a significant number of electorate had migrated to the West. “If such voters are excluded, the number will rise up to 76%,” he noted.
Going by traditional wisdom that a sharp rise or fall in vote share point to a landslide victory for one side, political observers calculate that the support for the UDF and the LDF will remain fundamentally unchanged this time. An element of unpredictability, however, cannot be ruled out in case of the NDA failing in rallying its core vote bank.
The counting of votes will begin at 8 a.m. on Friday. The trend will be available by 9 a.m. and the result is expected to be announced by 11 a.m.
The district administration and the Election Commission have made elaborate arrangements for the counting of votes at Baselius College in Kottayam. According to the district election office, counting will be done on 20 tables with 14 tables for counting machine votes, five tables for postal votes, and one table for service votes polled through ETPBS (Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System).
Postal votes and service votes will be counted first. The counting of ETPBS votes will be done after scanning the QR code on the votes and giving them to counting officials.