Kerala recorded a 73.7 per cent turnout in the third phase of general elections to the 16th Lok Sabha on Thursday.
The turnout is a marginal increase on the 73.37 per cent in the 2009 Lok Sabha election.
Most of the 20 constituencies spread across 14 districts registered good turnouts from 7 am and the state’s overall voting figures crossed 50 per cent by around 2 pm. A total of 269 candidates are in the fray in the state that has over 2.42 crore voters.
The northern constituencies of Vadakara, Kannur and Kozhikode where closely-fought contests between the ruling Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) and the opposition Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) are unfolding recorded high voter turnouts.
Vadakara with 81 per cent registered the biggest turnout in the state, followed by Kannur at 80.8 per cent and Kozhikode at 79.6 per cent.
The three constituencies had recorded turnouts better than the overall state figure also in 2009. Kannur had topped the state with 80.94 per cent, while Vadakara was at 80.4 per cent and Kozhikode registered 75.65 per cent voting.
In Vadakara, sitting Congress MP Mullappally Ramachandran is locked in a close fight with A N Shamseer of the CPM. Of the five northern constituencies of Kasaragod, Kannur, Kozhikode, Vadakara and Wayanad, only Kasaragod was won by the LDF in 2009. The final tally in 2009 read 16-4 in favour of the UDF.
Controversies surrounding the K Kasturirangan panel report on Western Ghats conservation did not reflect in Idukki that registered a 70.7 per cent turnout. The constituency had a 73.89 per cent turnout in 2009.
Kollam, where the CPM is fighting a prestigious contest against ally-turned-adversary the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP), recorded a 71.9 per cent turnout, a good jump on the 67.78 per cent in 2009.
Thiruvananthapuram, Attingal and Pathanamthitta in southern Kerala went against the trend, registering the lowest turnouts. Pathanamthitta with 65.9 per cent is at the bottom of the list, while Thiruvananthapuram and Attingal registered 68.6 per cent each.
The three-way contest in Thiruvananthapuram where sitting MP Shashi Tharoor (Congress), Bennet Abraham (CPI) and O Rajagopal (BJP) are fighting it out failed to generate matching interest among voters.
The polling was slow through the day in the city though the rural segments of Neyyatinkara and Parassala recorded better turnouts. Rains that lashed the city and neighbourhoods in the evening doubled as a dampener. Rains also affected polling in Ernakulam and Chalakudy.
Leaders of the two fronts and the BJP, including Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Defence Minister A K Antony, Leader of the Opposition V S Achuthanandan, CPM state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan, Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president V M Sudheeran and BJP state president V Muraleedharan, cast votes before noon. Leaders and prominent candidates sounded upbeat on their prospects.