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Final phase polls tomorrow

By Staff
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Thiruvananthapuram, May 2 : About 2.4 million people are expected to cast their votes in 15 constituencies in two politically volatile districts of Kerala in the third and final phase of elections tomorrow.

Election Commission (EC) sources said all steps had been taken for the smooth conduct of the polls in Kannur and Kasargode districts, which go to the polls.

Security had been tightened in the districts. More than 9,000 security personnel drawn from Kerala, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu state police forces have been deployed in the region, Superintendent of Police Mathew Polycarp, overseeing security arrangements, in the district had told UNI.

Each booth would by manned by five policemen. As many as 650 digital cameras had been installed in different places to record the polling process.

In Kasaragod district, 4,000 security personnel, including paramilitary forces, have been deployed in 843 booths in five Assembly segments, official sources said.

There are 2,373 polling stations in the two districts. Of these, 1,477 polling booths in Kannur and 365 in Kasargode were considered 'sensitive' while 232 booths in Kannur were classified 'vulnerable.' The EC had decided to conduct voting in these districts in the last leg considering repeated allegations of mischief during the polls.

The Left Democratic Front which, according to poll analysts, already had a clear edge over the ruling United Democratic Front was aiming at increasing its count from the ten seats it had won during the 2001 Assembly elections in the two districts.

With the first and second phase exit polls giving an upper hand to the CPI(M)-led LDF, the Congress is fighting hard to make inroads into the Left bastion.

Candidates and workers today met the voters in person during door-to-door campaigns. 

Eighty five candidates, including CPI (M) State Secretariat Member Kodeyeri Balakrishnan, Congress (S) President Kadanappally Ramachandran and Former Minister K Sudhakaran, are in the fray. The electioneering in the districts gained added momentum with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, AICC chief Sonia Gandhi, CPI (M) Politburo Member Brinda Karat and BJP President Rajnath Singh addressing poll meetings.

Scores of state leaders, including Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Opposition Leader V S Achuthanandan and BJP State President P S Sreedharan Pillai also canvassed.

As seen in the earlier phases, women voters outnumber male counterparts. There are about 12,60,418 women voters to 11,40,762 male voters.

The BJP, which has fielded 15 candidates, is eyeing victory in Manjeswaram Constituency, considered to be its stronghold.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) had fielded 11 candidates, the Bahujan Samaj Party eight, the CPI one and the Congress nine.

UNI

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