Around 72 per cent of the total 1.7 lakh electorate cast their votes in the bypolls to the Vengara assembly constituency in Malappuram on Wednesday.
The turnout was brisk right from the time polling began at 7 am to the close of voting at 6 pm. 72 per cent polling crosses the 70.7 per cent turnout the constituency witnessed during the 2016 assembly polls. The Lok Sabha election held around 6 months ago registered only 67.70 per cent voter turnout.
Vengara bypoll also marks the first time that the voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) is being used in all the polling booths in a constituency in Kerala. The counting of votes will be held on October 15.
Six candidates, including KNA Khader of the IUML, PP Basheer of CPM, K Janachandran of BJP and KC Naseer of the SDPI, are in the fray. The bypoll was necessitated when IUML leader PK Kunhalikutty vacated the seat after he was elected from the Malappuram Lok Sabha constituency back in April.
Malappuram district collector Amit Meena said that the polling was incident free. "There were some initial hiccups reported in the functioning of the machines from some places. They were immediately replaced," the collector said.
Of the total electorate, 87,750 are men and 82,259 women. Sources said that 148 polling stations had been set up, besides 17 auxiliary booths in 90 places in the constituency.