Kottayam, Sep 23 : About 15 percent of voters exercised their franchise at the Pala Assembly bypoll, where polling commenced smoothly from 7am on Monday.
The Pala by-election, second time this year was necessitated following the demise of former finance minister K M Mani who held the constituency for over five decades. Kerala Congress (M) leader Jose K Mani MP, United Democratic Front (UDF) candidate Jose Tom Pulikkunnel and Left Democratic Front (LDF) candidate Mani C Kappan were among those who had cast their votes.
The mock poll to ensure proper functioning of electronic voting machines began at 6am and the results were erased and the machines kept for actual election. All voters who remain in the queue till 6pm will be allowed to cast their votes.The constituency is witnessing a close two cornered race between UDF and LDF. The bitter election campaign had seen political parties raising various issues like corruption, economic slowdown, crisis in the agricultural sector and Sabarimala women's entry row.
UDF counts on riding on the waves of sympathy for late K M Mani and the anti-incumbency factor against LDF. LDF looks to buck the trend by making the most of the factional strife within Kerala Congress. NDA hopes to turn the tide in its favour on the welfare schemes introduced by its government at the centre. (UNI)