70 per cent turnout in Kerala

An estimated 70 percent of voters in Kerala exercised their franchise as polling ended peacefully in all the 140 assembly constituencies.

Updated: Apr 18, 2011, 16:46 PM IST

Thiruvananthapuram: An estimated 70 per
cent of voters in Kerala exercised their franchise as polling
ended peacefully in all the 140 assembly constituencies this
evening.

The battle to gain power is keenly fought between
ruling LDF and Congress-led UDF with BJP making the contest a
three-cornered one in at least two seats.

According to officials, the final voter turnout would
exceed 70 per cent.
Kerala has 2.31 crore voters.

In all, 971 candidates are in fray, including
Independents.

A constable on duty in a booth at Kadakkal in Kollam
district collapsed and died while voting was on. No major
incidents of violence or malpractices were reported from
anywhere, police said.

In the LDF, lead partner CPI-M is contesting in 93
seats, CPI (27), JD-S (5), RSP, NCP (4 each), Kerala Congress,
INL (three each) and Congress-S (1).
In the UDF, Congress has fielded 82 candidates
followed by IUML (24), KC-M (15), SJD (6), JSS (4), KC-J, CMP
(3 each), KC-B (2) and RSP-B (1).

Key players include Chief Minister and CPI-M veteran V
S Acuthanandan (87), seeking mandate from the Left bastion
Malampuzha in Palakkad district for the third time. UDF`s
chief ministerial probable Oommen Chandy is back in
Puthuppally in Kottayam, from where he has won nine times in a
row.

Kerala PCC president Ramesh Chennithala is contesting
to the assembly after a long gap from his home turf Harippad
in Alappuzha and late K Karunakaran`s son K Muraleedharan is
seeking election from Vattiurkavu.
Besides Achuthanandan, 14 ministers are seeking fresh
mandate, eight from CPI-M, two from CPI, one each from RSP,
Congress-S, Janata Dal-S and Kerala Congress (Thomas).

BJP is pinning its hopes on senior leader O Rajagopal,
contesting in Nemom to open its account in the assembly.

PTI