The active northeast monsoon, propelled by a low-pressure area over the east-central Arabian Sea, has ensured heavy showers across Kerala on a day when voters in five Assembly seats scheduled for bye-elections will exercise their rights. Over 9.57 lakh eligible voters are present in five constituencies of Aroor, Ernakulam, Konni, Manjeswaram and Vattiyoorkavu, scheduled for bypolls Monday. While the Manjeswaram bypoll was necessitated by the demise of the sitting MLA last year, the other four seats fell vacant after the sitting MLAs got elected to the Lok Sabha in the April-May general elections.
Reports in the local media from different parts of the state on Monday morning indicated that several polling booths in constituencies like Ernakulam, Aroor and Konni are being swallowed by floodwaters. Disruption in electricity supply has also hindered the polling process. The situation is particularly serious in Ernakulam constituency in Kochi where narrow lanes leading to the polling booths are underwater. Chief Electoral Officer Teeka Ram Meena told reporters that he spoke to District Collector S Suhas about the situation and discussed ways on extending voter timings in areas where the polling process began late. If the polling process gets completely suspended at certain booths, the election may even get postponed.
As of 11 am, polling figures stand as: 20.39% in Manjeswar, 13.5% in Ernakulam, 27.87% in Aroor, 24.18% in Konni & 24.69% in Vattiyoorkavu
At 11 am, Aroor seat stood ahead with 27.87% polling, followed by 24.18% in Konni and 24.69% in Vattiyoorkavu while 20.39% voters turned out in Manjeswar and Ernakulam stood last with 13.5% voting.
While services of the Kochi Metro and operations at the Cochin International Airport in Nedumbassery continue uninterrupted, major roads in the city are underwater, with traffic-clogged at many places. Railway traffic has also come to a temporary stop after the tracks at the Ernakulam Town and Ernakulam South railway stations came under rainwater.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued code orange rain alerts in six districts - Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Palakkad, Malappuram and Wayanad, with isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall. Six other districts and Lakshwadeep islands have been issued code yellow alerts. Seven districts have been issued code orange alerts on Tuesday as well.
"A cyclonic circulation lies over Comorin area and neighbourhood and extends upto 1.5 km above mean sea level. The low-pressure area over the east-central Arabian Sea with the associated cyclonic circulation extending upto 4.5 km above mean sea level persists. It is very likely to become a well-marked low during the next 36 hours. It is also likely to intensify further into a depression during the subsequent 24 hours. It is likely to move initially towards north-eastwards over east central Arabian Sea till October 24 and then recurve west-northwestwards towards Oman-Yemen coast with gradual intensification," the IMD bulletin said. Fishermen have been advised not to venture into the sea.