Voting begins in Kerala

Thiruvananthapuram: At sharp 7 a.m. on Monday, polling got underway across Kerala to elect 140 new legislators to the 14th Kerala Legislative Assembly.

The electoral battle in the state is principally between the traditional rival fronts — the Congress-led UDF and the CPI-M-led LDF.

But the BJP-led NDA alliance after a massive election campaign led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also having high hopes.

The cloudy skies and rains in some places appears not to have dented the interests of the voters as in most places people had come well before time and in many places the queue of voters started to grow.

A total of 1,203 contestants, including 109 women, are in the fray.

As per the election officials, the state has 2,60,19,284 voters comprising of 1,25,10,589 male, 1,35,08,693 female and two voters belonging to the third gender.

In all there are 21,498 regular polling booths and 148 auxiliary polling booths, of which there are 1,233 categorised as critical and including 119 booths that are in Maoist-influenced areas.

A record 1,11,897 polling officials and more than 52,000 personnel from the Kerala Police besides around 100 companies of central forces, 2,000 officials from the excise department and another 2,027 home guards is responsible to ensure the poll passes off peacefully.

Voting ends at 6 p.m.