Thiruvananthapuram : Seven districts of Kerala that went to polls for the three-tier local bodies recorded high percentage of polling despite heavy rains in several places in two districts.

According to Election Commission, about 76 percent of the 1.1 crore voters exercised their franchise by 5 pm. The polling percentage is likely to go up as the commission has allowed the late comers to cast their votes even after the end of the polling at 5 pm.

 The polling may cross the 2010 turnout of 77 percent. The polls were held in Kasargod, Kannur, Wayanad, Kozhikode, Idukki, Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram districts. The turnout was the highest in Wayanad, which recorded 81 percent polling.  The turnout crossed the previous polling percentage in Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam districts though heavy rains had hampered the polling in the first five hours. The capital district recorded 72.2 percent compared to 69.9 percent in 2010. The polling percentage in Kollam was over 75 percent. It was 74 percent in 2010.

Barring a few stray incidents of violence, polling passed off without any serious law and order issues. Isolated incidents of violence were reported from Kannur, Kozhikode and Kollam districts.  Over 31 thousand candidates are seeking mandate in 9,220 wards across seven districts. The second phase of polling in the remaining seven districts of Malappuram, Thrissur, Palghat, Ernakulam, Kottayam, Alappuzha and Pathanamthitta districts on November 5. The counting will take place on November 7.

Leaders of all the three major political formations have expressed confidence that the high turnout will help them. The Congress-led United Democratic Front had captured more than 60 per cent of the local bodies in the 2010 elections, when the polling percentage went up by nearly 10 per cent.

 A prediction is difficult this time as the Bharatiya Janata Party entered the fray the fray in alliance with certain Hindu groups as a third contender. BJP president M Muralidharan said the poll will change the course of politics in the state. The election is considered significant since it will set the trend for the Assembly elections to be held in April-May 2016.

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