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Polling begins in Tamil Nadu, Kerala

Voting started this morning in all the 140 Assembly segments in Kerala, where the main fight is between the ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Democratic Front and the Congress-led United Democratic Front..

As per the reports from across the state, the voters’ turn-up was brisk. A total of 971 candidates are in the fray —— many of them are independents.

Over 1.25 lakh security personnel have been deployed for peaceful conduct of the voting in 20,578 polling stations.

Besides the state police, contingents from other states and central paramilitary forces had been deployed for smooth conduct of the elections.

Around 2.31 crore people, including 8862 NRIs, will exercise their franchise today.

The campaigning for the elections had remained by and large peaceful, but for sporadic clashes on the concluding day.

High profile contestants in the fray include Chief Minister and CPI (M) veteran V.S. Achuthanandan (Malampuzha), UDF’s chief ministerial contender and Congress leader Oommen Chandy (Puthupally), KPCC chief Ramesh Chennithala (Harippad), state Home Minister and CPI (M) Polit Bureau member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan (Thalsssery) and senior BJP leader O. Rajagopal (Nemom).

The state recorded 72.38 per cent polling in 2006 Assembly polls.

IANS adds

Polling for the 30-member assembly of Puducherry union territory started here Wednesday at 8 a.m.

Over 810,000 voters are eligible to vote in 867 polling booths. They will decide the political fate of 187 candidates.

The contest is mainly between the Congress-led front comprising DMK, PMK and VCK, and the All India NR Congress (AINRC)-led front consisting of AIADMK, DMDK, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and Communist Party of India (CPI-M).

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