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70 per cent voting in final phase

By Staff
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Thiruvananthapuram, May 3: 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 being peaceful in the politically-volatile Kannur and Kasargode districts.

Kannur district recorded about 75 per cent polling while in Kasargode it 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 CPI(M) activist was arrested in Kollapad in Irikkur constituency for throwing a cracker near the house of a booth agent of the UDF candidate.

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

Security had been tightened with police personnel drawn from other states. Most of the 2,373 polling booths in the two districts had been identified as trouble-prone.

Over 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 1,000 digital cameras were installed in select booths to prevent irregularities.

The Election Commission decided to conduct voting in the districts in the last leg considering charges of mischief before the polls.

Altogether 85 candidates are in the fray, 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).

UNI

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