Kannur: Several people lined up to cast their votes in Kerala's Kannur Lok Sabha constituency. However, one unusual visitor held up voting for a brief while. A snake was found inside the VVPAT machine and caused panic among voters.

The snake was found inside the VVPAT machine in a booth at Mayyil Kandakkai. The reptile was removed and voting resumed. 

The Kannur constituency, where sitting MP P K Sreemathy (CPI-M-LDF), K Surendrdan (Cong-UDF) and C K Padmanabhan (BJP-NDA) are trying their luck, is witnessing brisk polling since morning.

Though complaints of technical glitches in voting machines were reported in various places, polling continued after the snags were rectified. Long queues were seen across polling booths since morning, with large number of women, senior citizens and first time voters among those, who queued up to exercise their franchise.

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Governor P Sathasivam cast his vote at a booth in the state capital while Vijayan exercised his franchise at a school in his home village Pinarayi in Kannur district in the morning.

Voter turnout in Kerala till 11 am was recorded at 22.24% in the 20 Lok Sabha constituencies, which sees key contenders like Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Shashi Tharoor and Union minister Alphons Kannamthanam.

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According to Election Commission (EC) sources, the politically volatile Kannur witnessed the highest voting percentage of 24.53%, while Ponnani constituency registered the lowest - 19.45%. 

The high profile Wayanad constituency, where the AICC chief is seeking mandate, witnessed 23.68% polling so far. 

Thiruvananthapuram and Pathanamthitta constituencies, which witnessed a fierce triangular fight between the CPI(M)-led LDF, Congress-headed UDF and BJP-NDA, recorded 22.24% and 23.47% respectively, said the EC sources.

Leader of opposition Ramesh Chenntithala, former chief minister Oommen Chandy, Malayalam superstars Mohanlal and Mammootty were among the early voters.

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After casting vote, Vijayan expressed confidence about the thumping victory of the Left candidates and said the "avarice" of both Congress-UDF and BJP-NDA would come crashing down in the Lok Sabha elections.

"They hoped that they could garner votes by creating misunderstanding among people. But their dreams are not going to be fulfilled," the chief minister told reporters.

The fight in the state is between the LDF, UDF and the BJP, which would end up only in the third position in all the constituencies, he added.

Meanwhile, Chennithala said there was a "Rahul wave" and exuded confidence that the UDF would win all the 20 seats.

BJP state chief Sreedharan Pillai asserted that the saffron party would open its Lok Sabha account in the state this time.

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The three major fronts -- LDF, UDF and NDA -- had put up a fierce fight in many constituencies. A total of 227 candidates are in the fray in the state, including 23 women.

Wayanad constituency has the maximum number of candidates -- 20 and the lowest are in Alathur in Palakkad district (6).

There are a total of 2.61 crore voters-- 1,26,81,992 males, 1,34,64,688 females and 173 third gender voters. The strength of first-time voters in Kerala is 2.88 lakh in the age group of 18-19. The polling would end at 6 PM in 24,970 polling stations.

This is the first major poll after last year's August floods, the worst in the last 100 years, that claimed over 400 lives and brought to halt the local economy. The Sabarimala women's entry issue, which was a major poll plank in the state, is also expected to sway the voters.