(Eds: Fixes typo in sixth para) Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 12 (PTI) The Kerala State Election Commission on Thursday issued the official notification for the crucial local body elections in the state, which is considered a curtain-raiser for the assembly polls due early next year.
The polls, being held to the panchayats, municipalities and municipal corporations next month, is significant as it is the first election to be held in the southern state adhering to strict COVID-19 protocols amid the pandemic.
Candidates of various political parties have started submitting nomination papers, which would be accepted till November 19, state election commission officials said.
The scrutiny would be on November 20 and the last date ofwithdrawal is November 23, they said adding that the counting of votes would be on December 16.
Meanwhile, the Election Commission has disqualified a total of 123 members of various local self-government institutions for six years under the Anti-Defection Law.
As per the latest voters' list released by the Election commission on Thursday, there are 2.76 crore voters in the state including 1.44 crore women and 282 transgenders.
The highest number of voters are in northern Malappuram district while the lowest is in Wayanad, it said.
In the wake of the pandemic, the Left government in the state had decided to bring an ordinance for enabling voters who test positive for the virus or are quarantined after the deadline for seekingpostal ballot to vote in the last hour of polling.
The state cabinet, chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, would recommend to Governor Arif Mohammed Khan for promulgating the ordinance amending relevant sections of the Kerala Panchayat Raj Act and the Kerala Municipality Act.
The government had recently amended the Acts to extend the voting time by an hour till 6 PM and also to provide postal ballot facility to COVID-19 patients.
The polls are to be held in three phases.
While the first phase on December 8 will cover the districts of Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha and Idukki, the second phase on December 10 would be held in Kottayam, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Palakkad and Wayanad.
Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur and Kasaragod would go to the polls in the third and final phase on December 14.
An electorate of over 2.76 crore will exercise their franchise to elect representatives to 941 gram panchayats, 152 block panchayats, 14 district panchayats, 86 municipalities and six municipal corporations.PTI LGKSS PTI PTI PTI PTI