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KERALA

Wait for results proves agonising to candidates

Tuesday 2 May 2006, by TAMPI*K.M.

Effect of staggered polls being held for the first time in State

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The agonising wait for the results. That is, perhaps, the only negative factor of this round of elections to the State Assembly.

Though the candidates are the worst affected by the delay, other sections of society are also facing its implications to a lesser degree. They include workers of political parties, Government employees, the industry, trade and commerce circles and, last but not the least, the general public.

Foreign countries, in general, may not be directly interested in the elections in a small southern State in India.

But there is one country which is waiting anxiously for the outcome of the Kerala polls: the UAE. For the fate of the Smart City Project, to be implemented by the Dubai Internet City company, promoted by the Dubai Government, depends on the outcome.

It is the staggering of the elections in the State which has brought the factor in question into play. The elections in the State, whether to the Assembly or the Lok Sabha, used to be held on a single day in the past. This time, the Election Commission decided to conduct it in three phases.

The first phase, which covered the six southern districts, took place on April 22 and the second phase, in as many districts of central and north Kerala, on April 29.

The two northern districts of Kannur and Kasaragod are yet to go to polls. The third phase of elections will take place in 15 constituencies in these districts on Wednesday.

The counting will take place only on May 11, as the election process in some other parts of the country is still going on and will be completed only on May 10. Tamil Nadu will go to the polls on May 8, West Bengal will have it fourth and fifth phases of polls on May 3 and 8, respectively, and Assam its two phases of polling on May 3 and 10.

The polling will take place in Pondicherry, with the exception of Mahe and Yanam, on May 8. In those two places, it will be held on Wednesday.

That is the rationale behind the delaying of counting. The Election Commission does not want the result in one place to affect the election in any other place.

It is Kerala which has to spend the longest period on tenterhooks because of the delay in counting.

There is a lapse of 19 days between the first phase of polling in Kerala and the counting. The waiting period is reduced to 12 days for the second phase and a mere eight days for the third phase.

To some of the candidates, the phased polling came as a boon. They made use of the opportunity to campaign in other parts of the State. A rebel candidate of the Congress made full use of the opportunity to indulge in his latest favourite pastime of baiting the Democratic Indira Congress (Karunakaran). But even that ended with the second phase of polling.

And he too has started the agonising wait, along with the other candidates, counting the seconds, minutes, hours and days to the D-day.

See online : The Hindu

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