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LS poll: Over 70.28 per cent electors cast votes by 5 pm

Thiruvananthapuram: A late surge of voters saw the polling percentage mount to 70.28 by 5 PM in the Lok Sabha elections in Kerala Tuesday.

Women turned out in large numbers in all the booths in several of the 20 constituencies that went to polls.

The turnout which hovered little over 56 per cent at 3 pm picked up in the late afternoon and stood at 70.28 per cent, officials said.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Shashi Tharoor and Union minister Alphons Kannamthanam and BJP leader Kummanam Rajashekharan are among those who are trying their luck from the state.

Wayanad, from where Gandhi is contesting besides his stronghold Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, recorded a voting percentage of 73.18 till 5 pm.

However, it is raining heavily in wayanad, especially Sultan Bathery and Kalpetta areas, causing anxiety among the political leaders if the turnout would be affected in the dying hours of the polling.

Kannur recorded the highest voting percentage of 75.41 per cent at 5 pm while Ponnani recorded the lowest 64.91 per cent.

Thiruvananthapuram, where Congress nominee and former union minister Sashi Tharoor is locked in a fierce triangular battle involving BJP's Kumanam Rajasekharan and CPI's C Divakaran, registered 65.76 per cent polling.

Two elderly persons collapsed and died while waiting to cast their votes in polling booths at Vatakara and Pathnamthitta constituencies, while another person, who returned home after voting, complained of uneasiness and died shortly thereafter, police said.

Communist stalwart and the lone surviving member of the first Kerala Legislative Assembly, K R Gowri, who turned 100 last year, and nonagenarian former Chief MinisterV S Achutanandan exercised their franchise at booths in Alappuzha.

A total of 2.61 voters have to chose from 227 candidates, including 23 women, who are in fray in the state.

The strength of first time voters in Kerala is 2.88 lakh in the age group of 18-19.

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