CHENNAI ■ MADURAI ■ VIJAYAWADA ■ BENGALURU ■ KOCHI ■ HYDERABAD ■ VISAKHAPATNAM ■ COIMBATORE ■ KOZHIKODE ■ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ■ BELAGAVI ■ BHUBANESWAR ■ SHIVAMOgGA ■ MANGALURU ■ TIRUPATI ■ TIRUCHY ■ TIRUNELVELI ■ SAMBALPUR ■ HUBBALLI ■ DHARMAPURI ■ KOTTAYAM ■ KANNUR ■ VILLUPURAM ■ KOLLAM ■ WARANGAL ■ TADEPALLIGUDEM ■ NAGAPATTINAM ■ THRISSUR ■ KALABURAGI POLLING HELD IN 140 Seats N KERALA RECORDS BRISK POLLING 70.01% Thiruvnanthapuram 73.74% T'Puram: Kattayikonam in Kazhakoottam, an epicentre of political conflagration since the last assembly polls, witnessed clashes between CPM and BJP workers. The violence reared its head when CPM workers allegedly attacked the BJP workers around 11.30am. Kundara witnesses dramatic scenes 2019 Lok Sabha polls EVMs develop glitches 2016 assembly polls Malfunctioning of EVMs disrupted polling briefly at several booths in various constituencies. While polling started late in some booths because of the glitches, it was delayed by a couple of hours at some other places. 73.07% Kollam Palakkad 77.67% 77.35% 67.18% 74.75% Pathanamthitta 78.31% Malappuram Alappuzha 78.24% Kozhikode 72.01% 70.38% Kottayam Polling was held in 475 seats across the four states and the Union Territory of Puducherry Shreya, a first-time voter, clicks a selfie in front of a polling booth in Ernakulam, as a Sashastra Seema Bal official looks on | A Sanesh Voters line up braving Covid Polling largely peaceful EVM develops snags at a few stations Complaints of bogus voting despite poll panel's steps Two elderly people collapse and die Results on May 2 POLL PERCENTAGE IN 5 CRUCIAL SEATS Nemom 69% Kazhakoottam 69% Palakkad 73% Thrithala 76% Manjeshwar 76% Chief minister's daughter Veena Vijayan casts her vote wearing PPE kit after she tested positive for Covid-19 Covid patients too exercise franchise Voices Mallan Kani and Pachan Kani, who belong to a tribal community from Amboori in T'Puram, are amused seeing their photos taken in their younger days on their Voter ID cards. The duo had to cross the Neyyar river on a boat to exercise their franchise in Parassala on Tuesday | Vincent Pulickal Kochi candidate Tony Chammany, under treatment for Covid, after casting his vote in Kaloor | A Sanesh INSIDE Kasaragod Polling in 475 seats Good Score, Kerala! Now The Long Wait Kollam: Kundara witnessed dramatic scenes on Tuesday morning when LDF candidate J Mercykutty Amma alleged EMCC director Shiju Varghese, who is also a candidate, tried to sabotage the election process and mislead the public by faking an attack on him. T'Puram: The final hour of polling was set aside for Covid patients and those under quarantine. Among those who arrived at polling booths wearing PPE kits were Pinarayi Vijayan's daughter Veena and UDF's Kochi candidate Tony Chammany. 74.91% Wayanad We have complete trust in the people of Kerala and the people of Kerala have complete trust in us. I'm sure the people will reject the illmotivated allegations against the government The people of Kerala expect a change. The LDF government destroyed the state during its fiveyear rule. The Left leaders and top officials are immersed in corru-ption. UDF wave is visible — Ramesh Chennithala, Oppn Leader Pinarayi Vijayan, CM BJP candidate's wife protests against allowing mediapersons to take pictures of Mammootty at polling booth Dharmajan Bolgatty, the candidate at Balussery, stopped allegedly by CPM workers from entering a polling station This is the election which will give the NDA a strong footing in Kerala. NDA will make big inroads this time. I'm confident of winning in both Manjeshwar and Konni seats K Surendran, BJP chief Poll panel’S steps to prevent double voting not followed at all booths | p4 Keenly-watched constituencies see lower voter turnout | p2 Next 4 weeks to be very critical, jab age cap won’t be lifted soon, says govt Thrikkakkara West Bengal 82.28% 77.68% Ernakulam 74.97% Kannur Pudhucherry 71.79% 81.64% 74.14% Idukki 77.78% 74.02% Tamil Nadu Assam 76.19% Thrissur CPM and BJP workers clash in Kazhakoottam Kannur, Kozhikode, Thrissur and Palakkad districts recorded brisk polling, which was more or less peaceful. Rain affected voting in central districts past facts KOLLAM l wednesday l April 07, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 14 l city EDITION E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ T'Puram KERALA has made its decision on who will rule the state for the next five years but you will know the answer only on May 2. Braving an unrelenting Covid-19 pandemic and summer heat, voters lined up at polling booths across the state on Tuesday to exercise their franchise in the assembly election. The average voter turnout stood at a creditable 74.02 percent, though it was a tad lower in comparison to the 77.35 per cent recorded in the 2016 election. While the ruling Left Front expressed confidence of retaining power with a comfortable majority, the opposition UDF camp is also elated. Going by the UDF assessment after the polls, the front should win anywhere between 75 to 85 seats. The BJP-led NDA hopes to make its presence felt with authoritative victories in five to seven seats in addition to finishing second in about 10 seats. Significantly, the Sabarimala issue dominated the political discourse on the polling day, with the LDF, UDF and BJP trading charges. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan claimed Lord Ayyappa and all other gods would stand with the Left Front for being there for the people, to which Congress veteran A K Antony retorted the Chief Minister should first apologise to the Lord for the Sabarimala fiasco. The state also witnessed isolated incidents of violence in some pockets, including at Kazhakoottam in Thiruvananthapuram where CPM and BJP workers clashed with each other. The BJP candidate in the constituency, Sobha Surendran, staged KERALA a sit-in while LDF candiASSEMBLY date and Devaswom MinELECTIONS ister Kadakampally Surendran flayed the cops. Violence was also re por ted in Haripad where CPM and Congress workers clashed. In Kannur, an IUML worker was hacked. In many closely-fought constituencies, the voting percentage remained relatively low with BJP's lone sitting seat -- Nemom -- recording 69.80 per cent compared to 74.11 per cent in 2016. After the voting ended, opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala exuded confidence that the UDF will come back to power with an ● More on P6 emphatic victory . 2021 Minister hits out at rival candidate for ‘faking’ attack on self | p5 Tarun Bajaj is autopsy report out new revenue TN girl was subjected to sexual abuse, had secretary multiple knife wounds Sabarimala grabs all the attention on polling day E xpress N ews S ervice @ Kottayam THE Sabarimala women's entry issue took the centre stage on the polling day . It all started when NSS general secretary G Sukumaran Nair, after casting his vote at Vazhappally, said the devotees were still angry with the LDF for the stance it took on the issue. "Protest still exists in the minds of devotees. A government that ensures social justice and secularism should come into power," said Nair. The comments triggered a volley of comments from across the political spectrum. While the leaders of Congress and BJP quickly latched on to Nair's remarks, the LDF found itself on the back foot. "Not just the Hindu gods, gods of other religions are also with the government," said CM Pinarayi Vijayan. Historian M G S Narayanan misses vote, guilty officer expresses regret | p5 6 Faculty of Engineering and Technology NIRF Rank : 28 (2020) NAAC : A++ (2021) E xpress N ews S ervice @ New Delhi E xpress N ews S ervice @ New Delhi The Centre on Tuesday warned the next four weeks are going to be very critical as the Covid-19 situation is worsening faster than it did during the first wave. The Union health ministry also stressed the need to ramp up vaccination while indicating that the age cap for taking the jab won’t be relaxed anytime soon despite it being demanded by some states, since vaccine available is “finite”. Even Western countries have conducted vaccination in phases, Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan reasoned. “The basic aim is to reduce death through vaccination. The other aim is to protect your healthcare system. The aim is never to administer the vaccine to those who want it but to those who need it.” NITI Aayog Member (Health) Dr V K Paul said Covid-appropriate behaviour like wearing masks and staying away from crowds have to be followed in a campaign mode. However, that awareness is yet to sink in, going by the crowds in poll bound states. Officials said the situation can still be controlled with people’s participation. Maharashtra, Punjab and Chhattisgarh still remain states of maximum concer n. Given their population, the number of deaths being reported by Punjab and Chhattisgarh are a cause of extreme concern, Bhushan pointed out. However, Maharashtra, Gujarat and West Bengal top the vaccine administration charts. As many as 96,982 new cases were reported in a span of 24 hours on Tuesday morning. In a major bureaucratic reshuffle in the Union finance ministry the govern, m e n t o n We d n e s d ay appointed economic affairs secretary Tarun Bajaj a s r eve n u e secretary and b r o u g h t Tarun Bajaj in Bangalore Metro chief Ajay Seth as the new secretary in the De par tment of Economic Affairs Ajay Seth (DEA). Bajaj, a 1988-batch Haryana-cadre IAS officer who has served in the PMO, has played a big role in the government’s ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ package. E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @Pathanamthitta A day after the brutal assault and murder of a five-year-old Tamil Nadu girl by her stepfather sent shockwaves across the state, police officials probing the incident said on Tuesday there were multiple knife injuries on her head, chest and stomach, which caused her death. The child was also subjected to sexual assault, the officials said. "We have registered a case against her stepfather under IPC 302 (murder), Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act and the Juvenile Justice Act. The accused will soon be produced before the Konni Judicial First Class Magistrate," said Bineeshlal K V, inspector of police, Pathanamthitta. The stepfather, who is reportedly addicted to drugs and alcohol, was apprehended on Monday "The accused had tried to escape . from the vehicle after attacking the policemen, but was overpowered and taken to the police station. However, he again managed to escape from the station around midnight. By 6am on Tuesday, we took him into custody from a spot near his rented house," said ● More on P7 a police official. flight of capital India Inc wary as US moots global minimum corp tax E xpress N ews S ervice @ New Delhi WHile the US is leading an international effort to create a global minimum tax on corporate profits, India Inc says the move will have not have any impact on India. On Monday US Treasury Secre, tary Janet Yellen called for a global minimum tax that would apply to multinational corporations, regardless of where they locate their headquarters. “Together, we can use a global minimum tax to make sure the global economy thrives based on a more level-playing field in the taxation of multinational corporations,” she said, adding that it would prevent a “race to the bottom” in which countries cut tax to entice companies. She said this is aimed at “making sure that govern- ments have stable tax systems that raise sufficient revenue to invest in essential public goods and respond to crises.” With the EU and the IMF also supporting the move, experts believe countries like India that have cut tax to attract multinational companies would come under pressure to raise rates. On September 20, 2019, India had announced a massive tax rate cut, lowering the base corporate tax rate to 22% from 30%, and to 15% from 25% for new manufacturing companies. 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