Voting began on a brisk note at 7 am on Wednesday in Malappuram for Lok Sabha byelection. Considering the past elections of Malappuram, about 70% of the 1.3 million voters are likely to reach polling booths before 6 pm.
Around 16% votes were cast till 9 am, officials said. No untoward incident was reported so far while there were instances of malfunctioning of some electronic voting machines (EVMs) which were rectified, they said.
Nine candidates, including main contenders such as P.K. Kunhalikutty of the United Democratic Front (UDF), M.B. Faisal of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) and N. Sreeprakash of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), are fighting it out in the byelection brought about by the death of Indian Union Muslim League leader E. Ahamed on February 1.
About 2,500 security personnel have been deployed to ensure that voting in 1,175 polling stations is smooth and incident-free. As many as 5,640 polling officials are on duty in the Lok Sabha constituency comprising the Assembly segments of Perinthalmanna, Mankada, Manjeri, Malappuram, Kondotty, Vengara and Vallikkunnu.
UDF candidate Mr. Kunhalikutty polled his vote at Panakkad along with IUML State president Sayed Hyderali Shihab Thangal. BJP candidate Mr. Sreeprakash cast his vote at Pandikkad. LDF candidate Mr. Faisal does not have his vote in Malappuram.
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