Thiruvananthapuram: Over 60,000 poll officials and 80,000 policemen are on duty for the assembly polls that will begin at 7 a.m. on Wednesday in Kerala, a state known to throw out the incumbent government every five years. There are 20,758 polling booths and 27 auxiliary polling stations in the state where the opposition United Democratic Front will challenge the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF).
"A booth in Vengara constituency in Malappuram district has the highest number of voters at 1,648, while a booth at Kochi constituency in Ramanthuruthu has the least with just 30 voters," said chief electoral officer Nalini Netto.
More than 80,000 police officials from within the state and outside are also on duty. Those overseeing the distribution of poll material said by Tuesday afternoon all of it would be handed over to election officials to be taken to their respective polling stations. "The paper work for us while collecting the election material and at the time of handing it over after polls is cumbersome," said a poll official.
A college professor said he has been placed as a reserve presiding officer in Kollam district. "I have been asked to remain here till further notice and hopefully, if my services are not required, I can return home Wednesday morning," he said.
"Last time also I was placed on reserve duty, but by evening I was asked to take over the duties at a polling booth," said a professor.
The 22 million electorate, including nearly 12 million women, will pick from 971 candidates, including 78 women in 140 constituencies. Polling begins early morning at 7 a.m. and goes on till 5 p.m. on Wednesday.