Voting begins for Aruvikkara bypolls in Kerala
Thiruvanthapuram: Voting began at 7 am for the assembly bypoll to Aruvikkara in Kerala which is witnessing a three-cornered contest with voters queuing up at polling booths despite rains.
The bypoll, necessitated following the death of former Speaker and Congress leader G Karthikeyan, is a crucial test for both UDF and LDF as the Assembly poll is only an year away.
A total of 152 polling booths have been set up in the constituency. Security personnel, including those from BSF, are posted at some sensitive booths to ensure smooth conduct of polling.EVMs, being used in the polls, have photographs of the candidates affixed against their names.
UDF is banking on the "various welfare and development initiatives" of the four-year-old government while LDF and BJP attack the government on the solar and bar bribe scams and alleged corruptions in the PWD ministry.
For UDF,which came to power with a wafer thin majority of two MLA's in 2011 and is riding on the slogan of "development and care", the result is widely considered as a referendum on the performance of the government.Congress, in a bid to gain "sympathy wave", has nominated 33-year-old K S Sabarinath, son of Karthikeyan as its candidate.
LDF which is eying to capture the seat from Congress has fielded 66-year-old former assembly Speaker and minister M Vijayakumar (CPI-M) as its candidate.
M Vijaykumar is the LDF candidate while BJP has put up former Union Minister O Rajagopal.The campaign saw prominent leaders, including 92-year-old CPI-M veteran and opposition leader V S Achuthanandan, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and senior Congress leader A K Antony using strong words to attack each other.