A polling officer in Kerala's Alappuzha district turned up late for election duty and had quite the schoolboy excuse for it. He overslept, he said. The official identified as the First Polling Officer of the 130th polling booth at Thalavady in Alappuzha, was supposed to report for duty in time to conduct a mock poll at 5.30 am for polling to commence at 7 am.
However, on Tuesday, the officer was found to be absent and the authorities were unable to contact him. The proceedings eventually started after a reserve poll official took over George Alex's duties.
When he was at last located, George Alex claimed that he had overslept and was hence not able to be present on time.
The Alappuzha District Collector A Alexander has decided to initiate action against the erring poll official.
Kerala, which has 140 Assembly constituencies, went to polls on Tuesday. According to data put out by the Election Commission, till 4.30 pm, 65.93% voters have cast their votes. Of this, 66.32% are male voters, 65.56% are female voters and 31.48% are transgender voters.
Despite the soaring temperature, long queues were seen in various constituencies with men accounting for 54.31% of the total votes polled till 2 pm. Taliparamba, Dharmadam, Aroor, Chertala, Wadakkanchery and Karunagapally constituencies reported heavy polling.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan (Dharmadam), Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala (Haripad), Senior Congress leader Oommen Chandy (Puthupally), BJP state president K Surendran (Konni and Manjeswaram) and 'Metro Man' E Sreedharan (Palakkad) were among those who voted before noon.
A few clashes were also reported across the state. Mohammed Ashraff Kalathil, presiding officer of a booth in Payyanur constituency in Kannur, was hospitalised after he was allegedly attacked by CPI(M) activists as he had reportedly stopped a man from casting his vote since the latter had only come with his ration card. The voting was held up for half an hour and another officer was appointed while Kalathil was shifted to a hospital. In another incident, in Andoor of Kannur district, UDF candidate Abdul Raheed was allegedly manhandled by CPI(M) workers.
(With agency inputs)
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