Thiruvananthapuram:Kerala's 2.74 crore voters will head to polling booths to elect representatives for the 15th Legislative Assembly on Tuesday.
Polling will be held at all the 140 constituencies in the state.
The polling, which will commence at 7am, will conclude at 7pm on Tuesday, except in nine constituencies under risk of Maoist threat.
Polling would end an hour early at 6pm in these constituencies.
COVID-19 patients and those in quarantine can cast their votes during the final hour of polling. They should be clad in Personal Protection Equipment (PPE).
There are 40,771 polling stations and 1,12,324 polling booths in Kerala. This is an increase of 89.65 per cent from the last election.
Candidates from the ruling LDF, opposition UDF and the BJP-led NDA visited voters individually to make a last ditch appeal after the campaign ended on Sunday. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan seeks to enter record books as the first chief minister to retain power.
The opposition UDF is banking on a last minute campaign blitz by Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka in the state.
Many analysts are of the view that the BJP, which garnered around 16 per cent votes share in 2016, would be crucial factor in deciding the outcome.
Apart from this, the Muslim and Christian voters, who account for nearly 20 and 18 per cent of the population respectively, would also be crucial.
Pollsters believe the minorities swayed towards the LDF in 2016, enabling the front to wrest power.
The trend reversed towards the UDF in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and it swept 19 of the 20 Lok Sabha seats.
The Indian Union Muslim League, the second biggest ally of the UDF, has fielded 27 candidates and are likely to get a major chunk of the Muslim votes.
So, how Muslim votes will sway in constituencies where the IUML does not contest will also be a crucial factor in the poll outcome.
The LDF and the UDF claim the under-currents will favour them.
The BJP hopes to ride on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's charisma.
The Congress-led UDF camp claims star campaigners Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi have been able to influence the minorities. Most opinion polls have pointed to an LDF win. Counting will be held on May 2.
Kerala Assembly Elections 2016 Results:
LDF - 91
UDF - 47
NDA - 1
OTHERS - 1
Number of voters:
Population - 35,699,443
Total no of voters - 2,74,46,039
Men - 1,32,83,724
Women - 1,41,62,025
Third Gender - 290
In the outgoing Assembly, the CPI-M-led Left Democratic Front had 91 seats, while the Congress-led United Democratic Front had 47, and the BJP and P.C. George, whose party is not allied with any of the three fronts, had one each.
The LDF comprises 14 parties, including the Kerala Congress-Mani and the erstwhile Janata Dal-U (now the Loktantrik Janata Dal), which crossed over from the UDF last year.
In the UDF, there are just five parties at present while the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance also has five.
The bye-election to the Malappuram Lok Sabha constituency, which fell vacant after the resignation of IUML MP Kunhalikutty, is also being held simultaneously with the Kerala Assembly polls on April 6. Voters in this constituency in north Kerala district would vote to elect their MLA and MP simultaneously.
Retired IPS officer Deepak Mishra will be the police observer in Kerala.