The elections to the local bodies in Kerala will be held in three phases in December, the State Election Commission has announced. The first phase of elections will be held on December 8, the second phase on December 10 and the third phase on December 14. The local body polls will set the mood for the Assembly polls that will be held early next year. It could very well be a curtain raiser for the 2021 Assembly polls. Hence this is a litmus test for the ruling Left Democratic Front that faces anti-incumbency and has been embroiled in many controversies recently.
For the opposition which is the United Democratic Front, it would be a test to see if all their agitations against the government have worked. For the BJP, the local body elections will once again show if the party has made inroads into the state.
The polling will be held from 7 am to 6 pm. The counting will be held on December 16. Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha and Idukki will go to polls in the first phase on December 8.
In the second phase, on December 10, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Palakkad and Wayanad will go to polls. Elections for four districts - Kasaragod, Kannur, Kozhikode and Malappuram will be held on December 14, in the third phase.
It has been decided to conduct the elections in three phases against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, State Election Commission V Bhaskaran said.
In a press meet to declare the poll dates on Friday, the EC also said that COVID-19 protocol will be strictly adhered in the elections.
"Use of sanitiser, wearing of mask and maintaining physical distancing will be strictly followed. Postal voting will be allowed for those who are COVID positive and those who are in quarantine. Casting of votes wearing Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) has been mulled but not finalised yet," the EC said.
The state government on Wednesday decided to place the local bodies under administrative committees after November 11 as the new councils won't assume charge as elections were delayed owing to the pandemic situation.
The election notification will be issued on November 12.