Thiruvananthapuram, Apr 26 : Kerala recorded the highest voter turnout in the last four decades, of 77.68 per cent in the April 23 elections to 20 Lok Sabha seats, since the 79.3 per cent figure of 1989, State Election Commissioner Teekaram Meena said on Wednesday.
Addressing a press conference here, Teekaram Meena said Kannur witnessed the highest polling of 83.05 per cent and Thiruvananthapuram recorded the lowest of 73.45 per cent according to the latest data available with the Commission.
Out of 14 districts in the State, eight crossed above 80 per cent polling and Pathanamthitta district, the epicenter of Sabarimala agitation against women entry into the world famous Lord Ayyappa temple, witnessed a heavy turnout this time as additional 8.35 per cent people, compared to the previous year.
Vadakara Lok Sabha seat recorded the highest number of women representation in polling and the polling rate was 82.48 per cent.
Total 63 transgenders exercised their franchise in the State this time. All the transgenders in Pathanamthitta and Mavelikkara exercised their voting rights whereas Fifteen transgenders cast their votes in Thiruvananthapuram district.
A re-polling will be conducted at 83 number booth at Kalamassery in Ernakulam following a complaint that the poll was conducted without removing the 43 mock votes.
This was informed to the Chief Election Commission which gave the permission for re-polling in the booth, he added. The rate of malfunctioning of EVMs and VVPATS machines was less compared to the number of complaints at the national level. Out of 38,003 ballot units, only 397 machines developed snags, it was only 338 in the case of a total 32,579 control units, and out of 35,665 VVPATS machines, only 840 developed snags, he said.
Stating that the election was held in a peaceful and unbiased manner, he praised the roles played by police personnel, electoral officials and district collectors for the smooth conduct of the polling.
According to the latest data, 77.68 per cent of 2,61,51,534 voters cast their votes through 24,970 polling booths in Kerala.
To a question on technical snags affecting the credibility of EVMs and VVPAT machines, the Chief Electoral Officer said baseless allegations against voting machines are not good for a healthy democracy.
About 99 per cent voters have good opinion about the EVMs and VVPAT machines, he added.
Regarding the arrest of a voter, who could not prove of his allegation that his vote was cast for another candidate due to technical snag, Teekaram Meena said he was not in favour of the arrest.
However, the action was taken on the basis of the rules passed by the Parliament. It is upto the representatives of the people to decide on the matter.
Over BJP President PS Sreedharan Pillai's statement that he will file defamation case against the chief electoral officer, Meena made no comments on the issue.
The State BJP President alleged that Teekaram Meena made derogatory comments against him for his stand on Sabarimala.
In an interview to a news channel, Teekaram Meena said Sreedharan Pillai apologised to him twice over the phone for his comments against the election commission.
After the apology, the BJP President used to say something stupid again, Meena added.
"His nature is that he repeats remarks against the commission after making apology each time, showing his double stand," Meena said in the interview.
The final voting per cent as follows according to the final figures from the office of the chief electoral officer.
Wayanad recorded 80.31 pc polling, Vadakara 82.48, Kasargod 80.57, Kannur 83.05, Kozhikode 81.47, Ponnani 74.96, Alathur 80.33, Chalakkudy 80.44, Idukki 76.26, Alappuzha 80.09, Mavelikkara 74.09, Attingal 74.23, Palakkad 77.67, Ernakulam 77.54, Idukki 76.26, Kottayam 75.29, Pathanamthitta 74.19, Thrissur 77.86, Kollam 74.36 and Thiruvananthapuram 73.45. (UNI)