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68 pc turnout in 2nd phase

Polling was conducted in six districts covering 66 constituencies. Pics

india Updated: Apr 30, 2006 15:07 IST

An average 68 per cent of voters exercised their franchise on Saturday in the second phase of assembly polls in Kerala covering 66 segments in six central and northern districts.

Barring a cracker blast in Nadapuram in Kozhikode district and clash between the LDF and UDF workers in Kuttippuram in Malappuram, voting went off peacefully in all the segments in Ernakulam, Thrissur, Palakkad and Wayanad districts.

Key contestants in the fray include CPI-M stalwart VS Achuthanandan, seen widely as the LDF's chief ministerial probable, DIC (K) president K Muraleedharan, UDF convener PP Thankachan, LDF convener Paloli Muhammadkutty, Speaker Therambil Ramakrishnan and IUML leader PK Kunhalikutty and the League's four ministers in the Oommen Chandy cabinet.

The BJP has a prominent candidate in former Union Minister O Rajagopal, contesting in Palakkad.

According to official sources, as per initial estimates about 68 per cent of the electorate turned up to vote.

Though 436 candidates are in the fray, the main combat is between the ruling Congress-led UDF, which had forged ties with DIC (K) led by K Karunakaran, and CPI (M)-controlled LDF.

A 69.78 per cent turnout was recorded in the first phase of poll in South Kerala on April 22. The third and final phase covering 15 segments in Kannur and Kasargode districts is slated for May 3.

First Published: Apr 29, 2006 09:43 IST