On expected lines, IUML strongman and sitting legislator P.K. Kunhalikutty got off to an early lead as counting of votes began at the Malappuram Lok Sabha seat on Monday.
Malappuram: Over 68 percent voter turnout was recorded in the bypoll to the Malappuram Lok Sabha constituency in Kerala on Wednesday. According to figures from the Chief Electoral Officer, the turnout at 5 pm stood at 68.40 percent.
The highlight of the poll has been that the voting has passed without any problems at all, even though all three rival fronts had engaged in a keen election campaign.
The election was called after the death of sitting MP, E Ahamed of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) leader. The IUML has fielded former Kerala Industries Minister PK Kunhalikutty, a sitting legislator and one of the most popular faces of the party.
The Communist Party of India-Marxist has fielded local body member and youth leader MB Faizal and the Bharatiya Janata Party has brought in Sree Prakash.
Soon after casting his vote, Kunhalikutty said the party's victory margin was set to go up and as the voting ended, he said that the increase in turnout will ensure that the margin of the victory would be better.
Faizal said the response from the electorate was positive and they expected secularism to turn out to be victorious.
Senior CPM leader TK Hamza said that whichever candidate (IUML or CPM) wins, the margin of victory would be very narrow.
Sree Prakash said the BJP had made inroads in the constituency and broken several barriers that prevailed in Malappuram.
Malappuram district is an IUML citadel and Ahamed won the 2014 polls with a record margin of 1.94 lakh votes. But during the 2016 Assembly elections, the margin of the IUML legislators, who won in all the seven Assembly constituencies, came down to 1.18 lakh votes.