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Polling brisk in Pondy, moderate in Kerala

Nearly 65 per cent of the 26.1 million electorate exercised their franchise till 5 pm on Monday to elect 140 members to the Kerala Assembly. In Puducherry, 81.06 per cent polling was recorded till 6 pm.

Polling brisk in Pondy, moderate in Kerala
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Congress? AK Antony with wife Elizabeth and MM Hassan, vice president, (KPCC), cast their votes

Thiruvananthapuram

Four poll-related deaths have been reported from various parts of Kerala today with three of them collapsing after exercising their franchise. Long queues were seen at the closing hours in many parts of the state with polling scheduled to end at 6 pm. 

The polling was peaceful in Kerala where more than 52,000 police personnel were deployed for security. Several constituencies in Kerala witnessed a tri-polar contest for the first time in its electoral history with the ruling Congress-led United Democratic Front, the Opposition Marxist-led Left Democratic Front and the BJPled NDA were engaged in a fierce encounter. 

Overnight rain that continued in several districts failed to dampen the spirit of voters, who queued up in front of polling booths in large numbers since early morning to choose their  representatives from 1,203 candidates, including 109 women. 

Meanwhile, about 81.06 per cent of the 941935 voters including 494224 women, exercised their franchise in the elections to the 30-member territorial assembly today. Chief Electoral Officer Dr V Candavelou told newsmen that polling would not be extended beyond 6 pm as rains and power breakdowns did not affect polling. Any extension would not make any difference. However, he said that those who were in the polling booth at the closure time would be allowed to cast their ballot. 

He said Puducherry region recorded 81.94 percent polling while Karaikal recorded 76.31, Mahe 75.25 and Yanam the highest 88.5 percent by 1715 hrs. Candavelou said polling which began on a brisk note on Monday morning went dull following the starting of rainfall and later picked up. 

He expressed hope that brisk polling will be there in the remaining time to surpass the last election’s poll percentage of 86.2. Candavelou said that the polling was by and large peaceful barring a few minor incidents. He said 16 EVMs were replaced 14 during the mock poll and two after the polling commenced.

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