Kerala heads for good election turnout

April 16th, 2009 - 2:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, April 16 (IANS) Kerala is headed for good turnout in the Lok Sabha elections with the first three hours of polling recording 20 percent people casting their votes Thursday, officials said. In the 2004 Lok Sabha polls the state recorded 71.45 percent turnout.
The biggest turnout was at the newly set up Pathanamthitta constituency where more than 23 percent voters exercised their franchise. In the Idukki seat located in the hilly district of Idukki there was also a good response with 22 percent voter turnout, officials at the office of the chief electoral officer said.

Central Kerala also saw an increased turnout and despite moderate rains at the Alappuzha constituency, the turnout was 21 percent.

Major cities like Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi witnessed a spurt in the percentage of votes cast during the first three hours as compared to the 2004 polls.

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 21,865,324 voters, of which 11,337,483 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 being used.

Reports from across the state indicate that there have been no major incidents or problems during the voting.

Meanwhile as more and more voters are exercising their franchise, top leaders of either fronts expressed confidence.

“We are going to win all the 20 seats,” said state Congress president Ramesh Chennithala.

Striking a different chord was former BJP cabinet minister O. Rajagopal who said that from the indications and expectations it seems that the Congress will do well here.

“Mind you in the past, whenever the Congress does well here, in the Centre, the Congress looses power. So this time too this will be repeated,” said Rajagopal to reporters after casting his vote here.

Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan after casting his vote along with his family members in a polling booth near Alappuzha said the LDF performance will not be bad.

In the 2004 general election the Congress led United Democratic Front could win just one seat.

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