Voting began for all 20 Lok Sabha constituencies of Kerala on Tuesday in which Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Union Minister Alphons Kannamthanam and two-time sitting MP Shashi Tharoor are key candidates.
Enthusiastic voters queued at several booths even before 7 am when the polling officially began for the third phase of the ongoing Lok Sabha polls.
Candidates P K Kunhalikutty (Malappuram), M K Premachandran (Kollam), Hibi Eden (Ernakulam) and Innocent (Chalakudy) were among the early voters.
Nine MLAs, 13 sitting MPs and two former party district secretaries, and two actors are contesting the polls in the state The three major fronts-- ruling CPI(M)-led LDF, Opposition Congress headed UDF and the BJP-NDA have nominated 6 women candidates.
A total of 227 candidates are in the fray, including 23 women in the 20 constituencies.
Wayanad constituency from where Rahul Gandhi is contesting, besides his pocket borough Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, has the maximum number of candidates-- 20 and the lowest are in Alathur in Palakkad district (6).
There are a total of 2.61 crore voters-- 1,26,81,992 males, 1,34,64,688 females and 173 third gender voters.
The strength of first time voters in Kerala is 2.88 lakh in the age group of 18-19. The polling will end at 6pm in the 24,970 polling stations.