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Antony confident of UDF victory in Kerala

April 13, 2011 - Thiruvananthapuram

Defence Minister A.K Antony confident that Kerala will overthrow the incumbent Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) led

Left government and bring to power the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF).

Talking to reporters here after casting his vote, Antony said: " There is no doubt that the people badly want a change in governance

"I am sure with this election UDF will have a very comfortable victory. So the era of non-performance will be over, UDF will concentrate on development and we will also try to again reestablish rule of law in the state," he added.

Meanwhile, Former Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor expressed hopes of the Congress Party coming to power after the elections.

"I believe the UDF is doing very well. I have stopped at a number of booths on my way in the city and there seems to be very encouraging turnout of people who are well disposed towards bringing about a much-needed change in the governance of Kerala. We had five years of Leftist rule and my impression is that the people are ready for a change," he said.

Tharoor lauded the Election Commission and the Law Ministry for bringing in various reforms in the election exercise.

"I think that the attention being paid by the Election Commission and the Law Ministry to various election reforms is an important thing and I believe there will be a national consultation after this election passes in which indeed I am invited to participate. I think we certainly should make the right to vote not only everyone's right but a painless one," he added.

Meanwhile, polling is underway in 140-member assembly. A total of 2.31 crore electorates will decide the fate of 971 candidates, majority of them independents.

The polling started at 7 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m.

Kannur district saw the highest voter turnout at 53.20 per cent and the lowest was 43 per cent in Thiruvananthapuram till 1 p.m.

Among the prominent candidates, who are in the fray, include Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan (Malampuzha), UDF's Chief Ministerial probable Oomen Chandy (Puthupally), KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala (Harippad), CPI(M) polit bureau member Kodiyeri Blakrishnan (Thalassery), Muslim League leader P K Kunhalikutty (Vengara), Kerala Congress (M) supremo K M Mani (Pala) and senior BJP leader O Rajagopal (Nemom).

Close to 4000 booths have been identified as sensitive. Malappuram has maximum number of sensitive booths and Kottayam the least. Micro observers or videopgraphers are to be deployed in sensitive booths.


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