Thiruvananthapuram: Over 80 per cent of voting was recorded in the bypoll today to Neyyattinkara Assembly constituency near here where ruling Congress-led UDF, LDF spearheaded by CPI-M and BJP are engaged in a triangular tussle.
According to preliminary estimates, the polling could exceed 80 per cent as long queues were seen in many polling stations even after 5 in the evening.
Data put out by the State Electoral Officer said the 73 per cent of 1,64,856 voters exercised their franchise by 4 pm.
The bypoll was necessitated by the resignation of the assembly membership by R Selvaraj who won the seat in last year`s assembly polls on a CPI(M) ticket. Selvaraj is back in fray as the UDF candidate after joining Congress. CPI-M has fielded F Lawrence and BJP has put up its senior leader and former Union minister O Rajagopal.
The outcome of the bypoll is seen crucial for CPI-M at a time when the party is on the defensive with some of its activists arrested in connection with the murder of Marxist rebel and RMP leader T P Chandrasekharan.
LDF had lost the recent bypoll at Piravom where UDF candidate Anoop Jacob won by a huge majority and restored UDF`s tally to 72 in the 140-member assembly.
While CPI-M used the "traitor" tag against Selvaraj and the rising prices during its campaign, UDF highlighted CPI(M)`s suspect role in political violence in the state as well as the achievements of the Oommen Chandy government since it came to power a year ago.