With all COVID-19 protocols in place, the counting of votes for Kerala local body elections has begun. According to the State Election Commission, the counting of votes is underway at 244 centres.
State Election Commissioner V Bhaskaran said the postal votes, including special ballot votes, will be counted first and EVM votes later.
Earlier trends will be known once the counting of EVM votes is started. However, the final results are expected by 1 pm.
The local body polls were held in three phases in Kerala. 78.64 per cent voter turnout was recorded in the third and the final phase of the local body polls. The second phase recorded 76.38 per cent voter turnout and in the first phase, it was 72.67 per cent. Ahead of the result announcement, Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which prohibits the assembly of four or more people in an area, has been imposed in Malappuram and some areas of Kozhikode and Kasargod districts to maintain law and order and to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Malappuram district collector K Gopalakrishnan has imposed Section 144 in Malappuram from 8 PM to 8 AM from December 16 to 22. The gathering of people and use of mike except at places of worship will not be allowed after 8 PM.
Victory celebrations can be conducted with a gathering of 100 people, in which children below the age of 10 and people above 65 except candidates cannot participate.
Kozhikode district collector Seeram Sambasiva Ras has prohibited any procession, public assembly of more than 5 persons within the limits of Vatakara, Nadapuram, Valayam, Kuttiady, and Perambra Police station limits in Kozhikode Rural Police district for a period of two days from 6 pm from December 15 to 6 pm till December 17 under section 144.
It has also ordered that all public gatherings (other than candidates and their agents authorised by a returning officer) of more than 5 persons are prohibited in the areas falling within a 500-meter radius of counting centers in the jurisdiction of Kozhikode Rural Police limit. Moreover, victory processions in the Kozhikode Rural Police district will be limited to ward/division and participation will be limited to 20 persons.
Kasargod District Collector Dr D Sajith Babu has imposed section 144 of CrPC from 12 noon on December 15 to 12 noon on December 17 in various areas within the limits of 10 police stations in the district. The ban was announced to ensure law and order in the wake of the announcement of local body election results tomorrow.
The district collectors have imposed section 144 of CrPC on the basis of reports from concerned district police chiefs. The clashes between party workers were reported in many places of these districts during the election.