69 percent voter turnout in Kerala (Second Lead)

April 16th, 2009 - 11:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, April 16 (IANS) The Left-ruled Kerala state recorded a high voter turnout of 69 percent Thursday.
According to the revised official figures, the Kannur Lok Sabha constituency saw the highest turnout of 78 percent and the least was in Thiruvananthapuram - 58.

Earlier, officials said only 59 percent of over 20 million electorate in Kerala turned out to elect their 20 members to the 543-member Indian parliament, for which elections are being held in five phases across the country. Two members are nominated to parliament, making its total 545 members.

In the 2004 Lok Sabha polls, the state recorded 71.45 percent voting average.

The main contest in the state 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 voters number 2,18,65,324 voters, of which 1,13,37,483 are women.

The opposition Congress, upbeat over the high voting percent, said this has broadened its chances of victory.

“An interesting aspect this time is that a low turnout would (have been) to their (LDF) advantage. All our votes have been polled,” said senior Congress leader and former minister Vakkom Purushothaman.

Denying the Congress claim, veteran trade union leader and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader M.M. Lawerence said Purushothaman’s statement was a wishful thinking.

“All our votes have been polled. You wait and see, we are on the course to an excellent win,” said Lawerence.

The UDF is hopeful that a large section of Muslim and Christian communities supported it unlike in the 2004 Lok Sabha and May 2006 assembly polls.

“We had a good response from the Muslim community and in general the people at large have opted for us,” said UDF convenor P.P. Thankachen.

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

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

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