59 percent voting turnout in Kerala (Lead)

April 16th, 2009 - 8:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, April 16 (IANS) Despite hopes of a high turnout, only 59 percent of over 20 million electorate in Kerala turned out to vote Thursday. In the 2004 Lok Sabha polls, the state recorded 71.45 percent voting average.
The Ernakulam Lok Sabha constituency saw the highest turnout Thursday with 67.5 percent and the least was in Thiruvananthapuram with a mere 45.5 percent.

However, state election officials said the polling at many booths was extended as all those who reached the polling stations by 5 p.m. were allowed to vote. Reports indicate that there were large queues near many booths when the process was closed officially.

In the morning, it appeared that the state was headed for a good turnout with the first three hours of polling recording 20 percent.

Election officials say the final voting turnout would be available later as the figures from many polling stations were yet to be collected.

Despite apprehensions, there was no violence and the polling passed peacefully, barring few minor skirmishes.

Kerala has 20 Lok Sabha constituencies, where the main contest is between the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF).

A total of 217 candidates are in the fray while the electorate comprises 2,18,65,324 voters, of which 1,13,37,483 are women.

As many as 20,508 polling booths were set up and 24,377 electronic voting machines (EVMs) and 22,972 control units were used.

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