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Kerala LS Polls: 194 Candidates in Fray for 20 Parliamentary Seats

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In Kerala, polling began on a brisk note this morning, with voters lining up before the polling booths to exercise their franchise. Several first time voters were seen joining the queue at many places. Heatwave conditions prevailing in several districts in the state have prompted voters to cast their votes in the morning hours. 194 candidates are in the fray for the 20 parliamentary seats in the state. Several contesting candidates have reached the polling stations to cast their votes.

 Kerala has 2,77,49,159 voters including 1,43,33,499 women, 1,34,15,293 men and 367 transgenders. 30,238 ballot units and control units, 32,698 VIVIPAT machines are being utilised in 25,231 booths across the state. The Congress led UDF, the CPI-M led LDF and the BJP led NDA have fielded their candidates in all the constituencies and the state is witnessing a three-way contest.

The Thiruvananthapuram constituency is witnessing a keen contest where the BJP has fielded Union Minister Rajiv Chandrasekhar;  Congress, its sitting MP Sasi Tharoor and the CPI, Panniyan Ravindran. Another Union Minister V Muraleedharan is trying his luck from Attingal, where the Congress has fielded sitting MP Adoor Prakash, while the Left Front’s candidate is V Joy.

The Wayanad constituency is also in the limelight where a fierce battle is slated to take place among sitting MP and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, CPI leader Annie Raja and BJP State President K Surendran. Another interesting battle is in Thrissur, where BJP has fielded actor Suresh Gopi, while Congress candidate is former Chief Minister K Karunakaran’s son K Muralidharan. The  LDF candidate is V S Sunil Kumar of the CPI.

Soaring temperature prompted several people to cast their votes in the morning hours and as a result long queues could be seen at many polling booths in Kerala. In most urban areas, voters turned out in large numbers. Despite technical problems briefly holding up polling at some places, voting, by and large is progressing smoothly.

Early voters who exercised their franchise include Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, LDF Convenor E P Jayarajan, Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly V D Satheesan, Congress leader V M Sudheeran, contesting candidates K Surendran, T M Thomas Issac, Actor Suresh Gopi, Krishna Kumar and Hibi Eden.

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