Counting begins in Kerala

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Thiruvananthapuram, May 2 (PTI): Counting of votes, polled in the April 6 Kerala assembly elections, began on Sunday morning adhering to COVID-19 protocols.

The postal votes were taken up for counting first when the counting began at 8 AM.

The outcome will decide the fate of 975 candidates, including Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Opposition leader, Ramesh Chennithala, senior Congress leader Oommen Chandy, 'Metroman' E Sreedharan and former Union Minister K J Alphons.

The counting for the Malappuram Lok Sabha bypoll is also being held.

Of the 633 halls in 114 counting centres in the state, 527 have been earmarked for tabulating Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) votes, while the remaining 106 will be for counting the over four lakh postal votes.

Over 24,000 polling officials are participating in the counting exercise and as many as 30,281 police personnel have been deployed for security duty.

Of the 2.74 crore electorate in the state, 2.03 crore had exercised their franchise in the polls.

Due to the severe surge of the second wave of coronavirus, candidates and polling agents were allowed into the counting centres only if they have taken both the doses of Covid vaccine or ifthey carried Covid negative certificates.

The ruling CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front, opposition Congress headed United Democratic Front (UDF) and the BJP-NDA had put up a fierce fight in the run up to the polls.PTI UD LGK SS PTI PTI