Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 23 (PTI) Around 35 per cent of the 1.04 crore electorate exercised their franchise till noon in the first phase of elections to local bodies in Kerala, polling for which began this morning in seven districts.
The maximum polling was reported from Wayanad district (40 percent), while Thiruvananthapruam reported the lowest percentage (27), official sources in Thiruvananthapuram said.
The approximate polling percentage in other districts in the first five hours are: Kasaragod (29), Kannur (38), Kozhikode (32) Pathanamthitta (30.5) and Kollam (37).
Polling was brisk in rural areas from the morning itself, while it picked up by noon in urban areas covering corporations and municipalities.
The polling was smooth and largely incident-free in all parts of the state, police said. Voters came out in large numbers in Kozhikode and Kannur districts with rains, that had lashed the region for the last two days, keeping away on the polling day.
Polling was postponed in Kazhivoor ward of Kanhiramkulam panchayat in the district after the symbol of an independent candidate was wrongly printed in the ballot paper. Repoll has been ordered in three booths of Ward 7 of Pattuvam panchayat in Kannur following complaints that CPI-M workers allegedly created trouble in the booths.
Polls in these wards would now be held on October 25, along with the second phase of polling in the remaining seven districts.
The main battle in the elections is between the ruling CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front and the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF). The BJP, which has strong presence in some pockets, is also fighting hard to improve their tally.
Campaign for the second phase of polling in Alappuzha, Kottayam, Idukki, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Palakkad and Malappuram would end on Saturday.