Over 75 per cent polling in Kerala

Both the LDF, UDF sure about getting majority

Women queue up to cast their votes during the Assembly elections in Kochi on Wednesday. PTI

The northern districts of Palakkad, Kozhikode and Kannur where the CPM-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) has a strong presence recorded over 75 per cent polling, with Kannur registering 80.3 per cent. Constituencies like Paravur in Ernakulam and Perinthalamnna in Mallappuram where neck and neck fight was witnessed between LDF and United Democratic Front (UDF) registered 84 per cent polling. 

However, voting slumped to as low as 60 per cent in a couple of seats in Pathanamthitta district and to around 70 per cent in state capital Thiruvananthapuram. Kollam, where the LDF has an upper hand, also recorded brisk polling.  The polling percentage was 73 in the 2006 Assembly elections while it touched 76 in the panchayat elections held last year.

Among the central districts, Ernakulam district recorded 77 per cent, up 3 per cent from 2006, apparently because of the high voltage contest in Paravur. Here, V D Satheesan of the Congress took on former MP Panniyan Ravindran of the CPI.

Final tally

The polling percentages are likely to go up in the final tally, according to Election Commission sources.

The polling was largely incident–free though central forces were deployed in some of the sensitive booths especially in Kannur district. However, barring some skirmishes in Nadapuram in Kozhikode, polling was peaceful.

Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan claimed that the LDF would retain power with a huge majority while Defence Minister A K Antony claimed that it was the UDF which was poised for a big victory. CPM State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan said that his front would get the necessary majority to rule.

Meanwhile, BJP candidate in Nemom constituency and former union minister O Rajagopal has said that the state was poised for a change and that his party would open its account in the Assembly.

Among the 2.31 crore registered voters this time were 8,862 non-resident Keralites, the first time that NRIs got the opportunity to cast their votes in any election in the country.
In a poll-related incident, a police constable who was on election duty at Kottukal in Kollam district died on the spot after complaining of chest pain.

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