Thiruvananthapuram: After polling for the Lok Sabha elections at a few places in Kerala was extended much beyond the official closing time, the final voter turnout tally stands at 77.68 per cent, up from 74.02 per cent in 2014, officials here said on Wednesday.
Counting of votes for the 20 Lok Sabha seats in the state will be taken up on May 23.
A total of 2,61,51,534 voters, including 1,34,66,521 women, 1,26,84,839 men and 174 of the third gender category, were eligible to exercise their franchise in 24,970 polling stations spread across 14 districts.
Kannur constituency recorded the highest polling with 83.05 per cent of the voters casting their votes.
The highlight was the more than 80 per cent polling in eight constituencies -- Kannur, Kasargode, Vadakara, Wayanad, Kozhikode, Alathur, Chalakudy and Alappuzha.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi is contesting from Wayanad which recorded a huge turnout of 80.31 per cent.
The turnout 73.45 per cent was the lowest in the prestigious Thiruvananthapuram constituency where Congress parliamentarian Shashi Tharoor is up against former Mizoram governor and BJP veteran Kummanem Rajasekheran and CPI legislator C. Divakaran. The turnout here was higher this time than the 68.69 per cent pollin in 2014.
A few poll surveys have given an edge to the Congress-led UDF, with some predicting as many as 16 to 18 seats this time. The BJP-led NDA is expected to open its account in the state.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the UDF won in 12 seats, the Left in eight. The BJP's best performance came from veteran leader O. Rajagopal who finished a close second in Thiruvananthapuram.
The BJP had a vote share of 10.33 per cent in 2014, which rose 15.10 per cent in the 2016 Assembly elections.
This time, thanks to the Sabarimala temple issues, the BJP is expecting to further improve its tally of votes and open its account in the state.
The BJP has high hopes in Thiruvananthapuram, Pathanamthitta (Sabarimala is located in this constituency), Thrissur - where superstar and BJP Rajya Sabha member Suresh Gopi was a surprise candidate - and at Palakkad.
On Wednesday Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan declined to speak to the media about the record polling registered in the state.
Meanwhile, two CPI-M candidates -- A. Pradeepkumar (Kozhikode) and K.N. Balagopal (Kollam) -- on Wednesday alleged that the BJP has silently helped the Congress candidates in their constituencies.