Wayanad registers a record 76.21% turnout1 min read . Updated: 24 Apr 2019, 01:31 AM IST
- Near the end of the voting day at 6pm, the total turnout in Kerala was as high as 78%, according to provisional figures
- Tribals who form 19% of the electorate in Wayanad and are probably the poorest community in Kerala showed a deep desire to vote
WAYANAD : When 24 hunter-gatherers, part of an ancient tribe of 200, decided to trek 18km through the jungles down their home in the hills of Western Ghats in order to vote in the Lok Sabha elections in Wayanad on Tuesday, they unknowingly helped create a record in Kerala.
Near the end of the voting day at 6pm, the total turnout in Kerala was as high as 78%, according to provisional figures, beating its previous 2014 poll record of 73%. Wayanad too saw a record high turnout of 76.21%.
The tribals, known as the Chola Naikar, had come out of the forest to make a point. “We need proper houses, education, jobs," said one of them, according to Thajashadh K., a local who was present. Their participation reflects the remarkable spirit shown by the southernmost Indian state in these elections. It was especially true in Wayanad, where candidates include Congress president Rahul Gandhi.
Tribals who form 19% of the electorate in Wayanad and are probably the poorest community in Kerala showed a deep desire to vote.
“They are hoping against hope, thinking the next winner will better their lives. With Rahul Gandhi, of course, the hopes have soared even higher," said Sreedhanya Suresh of Wayanad, who hit the headlines recently for becoming the first from her community to crack the prestigious civil services exam.
Around the time the Chola Naikar made their rare appearance outside of the forests, a helicopter landed outside a house in Thrissur district’s beach town Nattika. It carried the richest Malayalee M.A. Yusuf Ali, chairman of global supermarket and hotels chain Lulu Group.
His personal fortune was valued at ₹32,500 crore by Forbes magazine last year, putting him ahead of US President Donald Trump.
He had flown in to vote, and stood in a queue for sometime.
Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan lauded the high turnout. “Several people have come to vote even from their hospital beds. Many came from outside the state. I congratulate this democratic spirit," he said.
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