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12 Apr 2021, 23:43 HRS IST
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  • PTI
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  • Kerala records 16.07 percent till 9.30 am

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10:4 HRS IST

Thiruvananthapuram, Apr 6 (PTI) Kerala recorded 16.07 per

cent voting in the first two hours across 140 constituencies during the assembly election on Tuesday.

Serpentine queues were seen at several booths across the state as polling began at 7 am.

While a voter standing in the queue in Aranmula collapsed and died, there have been reports of malfunctioning of EVMs in some places.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who is contesting from Dharmadam in Kannur, Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala (Haripad), Senior Congress leader Oommen Chandy (Puthupally), BJP state president K Surendran, trying his luck from Konni and Manjewswaram and 'Metroman' E Sreedharan, (Palakkad) were among those who have already cast their votes.

According to the Election commission figures, the polling percentage at 0930 hrs in the state was 16.07 per cent.

Kerala had witnessed a fierce campaign in the run up to the polls by the ruling CPI(M) led Left Democratic Front (LDF), Opposition Congress led United Democratic Front (UDF) and the BJP led NDA.

Talking to reporters after casting his vote, Chief Minister Vijayan expressed confidence that the ruling CPI(M)- led LDF would be voted back to power.

"I have full faith in the people, who are with the left," he said adding the front would secure more seats than it had won in the 2016 assembly polls.

It will be a historical win. The BJP account in Nemom will be 'closed', he said.

Nemom was the lone seat won by the the saffron party in the 2016 assembly polls.

"The devotees of Lord Ayyappa and all other gods will be with the LDF", Vijayan said replying to a query.

The Opposition Congress led UDF and the BJP had during the campaign said the LDF government would face the wrath of the Ayyappa devotees in the polls.

Kerala saw violent protests by activists of BJP and Right wing outfits after the LDF government decided to implement the 2018 Supreme court verdict allowing women of all age groups to offer prayers at the hill shrine of Lord Ayyappa at Sabarimala, where traditionally women in the menstrual age group of 10-50 are banned from worshipping.

Chennithala said people of Kerala will give a befitting reply to the LDF in the polls and UDF would register a 'historical win'.

People are wanting a change from the "corrupt" government which had failed miserably in handling the two floods, Nipha, Ockhi and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Ayyappa bhaktas will not pardon the state government for the manner in which action was taken against the devotees.

The LDF will face the wrath of Lord Ayyappa and the people, he claimed.

Besides, Vijayan, seven of his cabinet colleagues are among the 957 candidates in fray in the state.

Voting is underway with strict adherence to COVID-19 protocol across the 40,771 polling stations in the state where 2.74 crore voters will decide the fate of the contestants.

LDF candidates -- M V Shremyams Kumar, seeking his luck from Kalpetta on the Loktantrik Janata Dal and Kerala Congress (M) leader, Jose K Mani, contesting from Pala, Congress candidate K Muraleedharan, (Nemom) were among the prominent persons who have voted in the first two hours.

The voting for Malappuram Lok Sabha bypoll, necessitated by the resignation of P K Kunhalikutty, who is contesting for the state assembly, is also being held.

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