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70 per cent votes cast in final phase Kerala polls

By Staff
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Thiruvananthapuram, May 3 (UNI) An estimated 70 per cent of the 2.4 million electorate today exercised their franchise in the last and final phase of Kerala Assembly elections, with the poll process being peaceful in the politically-volatile Kannur and Kasargode districts.

Kannur district recorded about 75 per cent of polling while in Kasargode the polling percentage was 65, sources said.

Barring a few incidents, polling was by and large peaceful in the two northern districts, where elections had been marred by violence, bogus voting and booth capturing in the past.

A Communist Party of India (Marxist) activist was arrested in Kollapad in Irikkur constituency for throwing a cracker near the house of a booth agent of the United Democratic Front candidate.

Heavy polling was witnessed in the 15 constituencies -- ten in Kannur and five in Kasargode -- even from the morning itself when polling began amidst tight security.

Security had been tightened with police personnel drawn from different states to ensure law and order and a peaceful polling as most of the 2,373 polling booths in the two districts had been identified as trouble-prone.

More than 10,000 security personnel drawn from Kerala, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu were deployed in the region. Each booth was manned by five policemen and as many as 1,000 digital cameras installed in select booths to prevent irregularities.

The Election Commission had decided to conduct voting in these districts in the last leg considering repeated allegations of mischief during the polls.

Altogether 85 candidates are in the fray from the two districts, including CPI(M) Central Committee members Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and P K Sreemathi, Congress (S) president Kadanappally Ramachandran, KPCC General Secretary K Sudhakaran and former ministers C T Ahamed Ali and Cherkalam Abdulla (both IUML).

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