Kerala CEO says polling got delayed as officials took time to verify documents

Sanjay Kaul said that compared to the previous polls, this time the functioning of the EVMs was excellent.
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Kerala's Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Sanjay Kaul, on Saturday, April 27, refuted Congress' claims that the Lok Sabha elections were poorly managed in the state. The state, which went to the polls on Friday, recorded 71.16% voter turnout -- down from the 77.67% recorded in 2019.

Congress General Secretary and the party candidate at Alappuzha KCVenugopal attributed the decline in voter turnout to "poor" management, saying that the elections were conducted in a "worst-ever" manner and "voters faced troubles due to the poor management of the polling".

"...polling got delayed much beyond the scheduled time and it has now come to our notice that 90% of the booths where the polling got delayed were those where the Congress-led UDF had a clear edge," said Venugopal.

Claiming that pro-Left personnel "hijacked" the entire poll process, he said, "The voters' list was prepared by these staff members and many voters after coming to the polling booths realized that their names are not included in the list. Despite all such negative tactics, the Congress-led UDF will win all the 20 seats."

Reacting to Congress' allegations, Kaul said the entire poll process went smoothly. "Compared to the previous polls, this time the functioning of the EVMs was excellent. In 95% of the 25,231 booths, polling got over at 6 pm and by 8 pm, polling was completed in 99% of the booths. It was in a few booths at the Vadakara Lok Sabha constituency, where polling continued beyond 8 pm," said the CEO.

"The delay occurred because of the arrival of a good number of voters and the poll officials took time to verify their documents. Every voter who arrived at the booth before 6 pm was given a coupon and everyone was allowed to vote," he added.

Kaul further said that the deployment of poll officials this time done through a software to avoid any external influence. "Like always, this time too, all the poll officials were given extensive training. Considering the unfavourable climatic conditions and also the political events, the turnout was excellent," he added.

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