Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala, which has 20 parliamentary constituencies, is geared up to vote today. The campaigning ended on Tuesday evening.
All arrangements are in place for the smooth conduct of the poll that will begin at 7am and end at 6pm, Chief Electoral Officer Nalini Netto said yesterday.
A 24 million strong electorate gets to select from 242 male candidates and 27 female candidates, vying for the 20 seats. The battle is principally between traditional rivals, the United Democratic Front and the Left Democratic Front.
Netto said that besides the police force, 55 companies of security officials drawn from outside the state have been deployed. “We have categorised 10 percent of the total polling booths of 21,424 as critical booths and most of them are in the districts of Kannur, Kozhikode and Kasargode,” said Netto. “The entire poll exercise will be conducted by 105,049 officials,” he said.
Political leaders have started moving to the places where they are registered as electors. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, his wife and two daughters and son will vote in their hometown of Puthupally in Kottayam district.
Chandy said his youngest daughter came in from Dubai to cast her vote, while his son arrived from Delhi. His eldest daughter lives with the family in Kerala.
Leader of Opposition V S Achuthanandan and his entire family is also leaving for Alappuzha, where they will cast their votes at Punnapara.
Defence Minister A K Antony took the day off and rested at his home here, after a 10-day state-wide campaign. “All of us will cast our votes here. I will return to Delhi after a few days,” Antony said.
Communist Party of India-Marxist state secretary Pinnarayi Vijayan and his family will, as always, vote in Kannur district where they are registered voters.