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Brisk polling till noon, top leaders among early voters

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Brisk polling till noon, top leaders among early voters
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Thiruvananthapuram: Brisk polling was on in 20 Lok Sabha constituencies in Kerala where about 40 per cent of an estimated 2.43 crore electorate cast their votes till noon Thursday.

The voter enthusiasm was high right from the start in northern constituencies like Kannur, Kasargode and Vatakara, electoral authorities said here.

Top leaders who have cast their votes included Defence Minister A K Antony (Thiruvananthapuram), Marxist stalwart V S Achuthanandan (Alappuzha) and Chief Minister Oommen Chandy in Kottayam.

After voting in a booth here, Antony exuded confidence that the UDF would record a historic victory with the tally of the LDF plummeting to all time low and BJP’s dream once again wilting.

One of the seniormost leaders in the country, 91-year-old Achuthanandan, who cast his vote in a booth close to his home in Paravur near Alappuzha, said the "outcome will reflect pepole's anger against corruption, price rise and atrocities against women."

BJP veteran O Rajagopal, testing his electoral fortune in state capital, said the current round of elections would mark "the end of the Congress era."

Long queues of voters were seen in urban as well as rural areas as polling proceeded in a peaceful manner under clear weather and tight security cover. There are 21,424 polling stations in the state.

Though 269 candidates are in the fray, the main fight, as in the past, is between the Congress-led UDF, now in power, and the opposition CPI(M)-led LDF, despite the presence of BJP, which is aspiring to open its account in Gods Own Country.

In 2009, 73.37 per cent of 2.17 voters cast votes and the trend this time indicated that the turnout could exceed this time.

PTI

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