Chennai/Thiruvananthapuram: Moderate to brisk polling was reported in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and union territory of Puducherry which went to polls Wednesday morning amid tight security.
Also See | Assembly Polls 2011 (Full coverage)
Voters turned up in good numbers since the polling began at 7 am in Kerala and an hour later in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry with no untoward incident reported so far.
The fate of three southern heavyweights -- Tamil Nadu chief minister and DMK president M. Karunanidhi, his Kerala counterpart V. S. Achuthanandan and AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa will be decided on Wednesday in one of the closest electoral battles in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
In the union territory of Puducherry also, voting to elect 30 Assembly members began on a brisk note with large queues before the polling booths.
Tamil Nadu, with 234 members Assembly, is witnessing tight electoral race between the fronts led by DMK and AIADMK.
In Kerala with 140 Assembly segments, the ruling CPI (M)-led LDF is battling to buck the trend of alternate fronts coming to power once in every five years.
A total of 971 candidates are in the fray in Kerala, many of them are independents.
Tight security arrangements have been put in place in Tamil Nadu, where the Election Commission is keeping a hawk eyed vigil amid allegations of distribution of money to woo voters.
In politically-sensitive Kerala, over 1.25 lakh security personnel including para-military forces, have been deployed in 20,578 polling stations.
Tamil Nadu and Kerala have a total electorate of 6.91 crore and Puducherry 8.1 lakh voters.
Around 15.8% voting was recorded in the first three hours of polling in Kerala.
Long queues were seen in both urban and rural areas right from the start of the polling under good weather conditions across the state.
The polling is progressing peacefully with no incidents of violence reported from anywhere, police sources said.
The highest turnout was reported in Kozhikode district where 19.5% of voters had turned up, followed by Ernakulam (18.2%) and Alappuzha (17.7%).
However, the voting percentage was less than 15% in the first three hours in the southern districts of Thiruvananathapuram, Idukki, Pathanamthitta and Kollam.
Early voters include Union ministers A. K. Antony and Vayalar Ravi, UDF’s chief ministerial probable Oommen Chandy and CPI (M) state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan.
Tight security arrangements had been made in all the polling booths of which nearly 3,703 had been identified as sensitive by the Election Commission.
Besides LDF and UDF, BJP has also put up candidates in almost all the segments and given a triangular dimension to the fight in a couple of seats.