Technical glitches notwithstanding, nearly a quarter of the over 2 crore voters in Kerala cast their votes in the first four hours of polling. The state is polling for all of its 20 Lok Sabha constituencies in a single phase.
Polling began at 7 am and there was an impressive turnout of 22.24 per cent by 11 am as people queued up since early morning, a poll official said.
In Wayanad, where Congress President Rahul is contesting, the turnout was an impressive 23.68 per cent and long queues were seen outside many polling booths.
Most of the state's top political leaders and film icons cast their votes early.
Poll officials pointed out that voting machines failed to function in some booths and were replaced. Many leaders, including Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan expressed concern about reports of faulty machines.
However, Chief Electoral Officer Teeka Ram Meena clarified that he had already informed everyone that if it rained a night before voting, the machines might take a while to be ready due to humidity.
"This is not a state-wide problem, but only in a few places and it has been rectified," said Meena.
Kerala Governor P Sathasivam and his wife cast their votes in Thiruvananthapuram.
Mr Vijayan, who was seen waiting in a queue with his family outside a booth in Kannur, said the fight this time is between the Left and the Congress-led UDF. "The BJP is not going to make any impact. It will finish not second, but third, in all the constituencies," he said.
Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala boasted that it was going to be a clean sweep for the Congress. "The ruling Vijayan government will take a severe beating," he said.
After casting his vote in Kozhikode, an exhuberant Kerala BJP President PS Sreedharan Pillai said that there are going to be a few surprises.
Actor Mammootty, who cast his vote in Kochi, encouraged people to use their right to vote. "This is the only time people get to choose who will represent them," he said.
Former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy cast his vote, along with his family, in his home town Puthupally in Kottayam. "The United Democratic Front (UDF) will do very well as this is going to be a vote against Modi in the Centre and against Vijayan in the state," said Chandy.
CPI-M Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan mocked Mr Chandy's aspirations calling him a "positive" person. "His predictions in earlier elections have all fallen flat. Just wait and watch, the Left will better its 2014 performance in the state," said Balakrishnan.
Congress-led UDF's second biggest ally Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) state President Hyderali Shihab Thangal was seen waiting in a queue long before polling started in Malappuram, where it has been raining heavily.
"Both our candidates Kunhalikutty and ET Mohammed Basheer as well as Rahul Gandhi will win with record margins. The Congress-led UDF will score an excellent victory," said Thangal, after casting his vote.
Congress candidate Hibi Eden and his wife were the first voters, at the Mamangalem polling booth in Ernakulam constituency. "We expect to come out with shining colours," Mr Eden told the media soon.
Comedian and Lok Sabha MP Innocent, who is seeking a second term as the CPI-M-supported Independent candidate from Chalakudy constituency, was also spotted in the queue with his family.
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