Tension as presiding officer denies open vote to woman

A minor altercation between the presiding officer and the relatives of a voter resulted in tense moments at a polling booth at Government Vocational Higher Secondary School, Payyanakkal, in Kozhikode South constituency on Tuesday.

A request for open vote by 45-year-old Bichathumma was denied by the polling officer after he grew suspicious of her claim of being partially blind. This irritated a relative who had accompanied her. He complained to the police personnel on duty. The presiding officer explained that Bichathumma, when asked if she could see, had answered in the affirmative and hence the open vote was denied. Polling in the booth was affected for a few minutes due to the incident.

Later, the presiding officer contacted the Returning Officer, following which the woman was granted permission for open vote.

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