Kerala came out to vote on Tuesday to elect their representatives from 227 candidates. Over 73% of the 2.62 crore who were eligible to vote exercised their franchise.
Former chief minister Oommen Chandy cast his vote at his hometown Puthupally in Kottayam and promptly expressed his optimism that his party and front will come out on top. "The United Democratic Front (UDF) will do very well as this time it's going to be a 'vote against Modi in the Centre and against Vijayan in the state'," he said.
Mocking Chandy's forecasts, CPI-M state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said, "His predictions in earlier elections have all fallen flat. Just wait and watch, the Left will better its 2014 performance in the state."
Voters complained of EVM glitches in several polling booths. However, Kerala's chief electoral officer Teeka Ram Meena clarified that he had already informed everyone that if it rained a night before voting, the machines might take a while to be ready due to the humidity.
"This is not a statewide problem, but happened only at a few places. The glitches have been rectified," Meena said.
UDF workers alleged that the LED lamp of the BJP symbol flashed when someone voted for the Congress's hand symbol at a booth near Chowara in Kovalam.
The EVM was replaced following the complaint. The district collector later said it was impossible to tamper with an EVM in such a way.
A police case was registered against a voter in Thiruvananthapuram who failed to prove his allegation that the EVM where he cast his franchise had registered a vote for another party.
The Congress also alleged that BJP workers were attempting to canvass inside a polling booth in Thiruvananthapuram, where Shashi Tharoor is seeking re-election for a third term.
Meanwhile, nine senior citizens died at different polling booths in the state while waiting to cast their vote.
The ruling Left front and main opposition UDF, engaged in a fierce battle, are determined to make it big, while the NDA, riding on the Sabarimala wave, is keen to alter the state’s bi-polar trend.
At least a couple of constituencies are witnessing tough three-cornered fights, with the BJP raising a formidable challenge and giving the NDA the hope of winning a seat in the state for the first time.
(with agency inputs)
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