'Metroman' E Sreedharan, who is the BJP-NDA candidate from Palakkad constituency was among the early voters in the state. "I have cast my vote, have good expectations", he told reporters after exercising his franchise at a polling booth in Ponnani.
Long queues were seen in several polling stations much before the polling began. Kerala had witnessed a fierce campaign in the run up to the polls by the ruling CPI(M) led Left Democratic Front (LDF), Opposition Congress led United Democratic Front (UDF) and the BJP led NDA.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, seven of his cabinet colleagues, Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala and senior Congress leader Oommen Chandy are among the 957 candidates in fray in the state. Voting is underway with strict adherence to COVID-19 protocol across the 40,771 polling stations in the state where 2. 74 crore voters will decide the fate of the contestants.
The total electorate includes 1,32,83,724 male voters, 1,41,62,025 female voters and 290 transgenders, according to election commission figures. A total number of 202402 polling personnel will ensure the smooth conduct of the elections and 97 per cent of the officials have been vaccinated, election commission sources said.