While political campaigning has been stopped in districts — Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Alappuzha, Pathanamthitta, and Idukki — stepping into voting day, it seems that people are not yet ready to give up. Stirring up controversy in Kollam, a presiding election officer was wearing a mask with party symbols, inviting candidates’ wrath and other party leaders.
In Kollam’s Kottankara panchayat, a presiding officer donned a mask with CPI (M) party symbols and election slogan at her booth. Following complaints, the District Collector had issued a notice to the election commission to remove her from the post. UDF leaders and DCC President Bindu Krishna have told the media that they would be challenging this legally.
While fancy masks and caps with party symbols and slogans were more than just a fashion statement during the campaigning, the actions of the presiding officer is a blatant violation of election norms.
Meanwhile, voters are turning out in large numbers since voting opened in many locations. The officers are to ensure that the voters follow strict Covid protocols — social distancing, masks, and hand sanitisers — as well as other election norms. After five hours, around 33.58% of voters have completed the process, and this year, due to the pandemic, the election commission has extended the time for voting.