Thiruvananthapuram, Apr 23 (PTI) Brisk polling is reported from Kerala Tuesday as voting is underway in 20 Lok Sabha constituencies, even as there were complaints of technical glitches in electronic voting machines in some polling booths.
Many polling stations witnessed heavy rush and long queues in the initial hours. Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Shashi Tharoor and Union minister, Alphons Kannamthanam are key contenders in the state.
Women, senior citizens and first-time electors turned up in large numbers to exercise their francise.
State Governor P Sathasivam, Chief minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chenntithala, former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Malayalam superstar Mohanlal and candidates of various constituencies were among the early voters.
Glitches in EVMs in some polling booths have been reported in the initial hours of voting in Cherthala in Alappuzha district and Kovalam in the state capital.
However, Thiruvananthapuram district collector K Vasuki dismissed reports of glitches in the machine in Kovalam and said it was ensured that it was error-free and the polling was continuing.
While Sathasivam voted at a booth here, Vijayan, stood in a queue to cast his vote at Pinarayi in northern Kannur district along with his family members.
After exercising his franchise, Vijayan told reporters that there was some problem in the voting machine in his booth and in two other places nearby. Issues relating to the voting machines have been reported from various other places in the state, he said adding the Election Commission should have ensured that they were free of any glitches.
Enthusiastic voters queued up at several booths even before 7 AM when the polling officially began for the third phase of the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.
The three major fronts-- ruling CPI(M)-led LDF, Opposition Congress headed UDF and the BJP-led NDA had put up a fierce fight in many constituencies.
A total of 227 candidates are in the fray in the state, including 23 women.
Wayanad constituency from where Rahul Gandhi is contesting, besides his pocket borough Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, has the maximum number of candidates-- 20 and the lowest are in Alathur in Palakkad district (6).
There are a total of 2.61 crore voters-- 1,26,81,992 males, 1,34,64,688 females and 173 third gender voters.
The strength of first time voters in Kerala is 2.88 lakh, who are in the age group of 18-19. The polling would end at 6 PM in 24,970 polling stations.
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