Left ahead in Kerala, veterans lead (Third Lead)

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Thiruvananthapuram, May 19 (IANS) The Left Democratic Front (LDF) took crucial early lead in the Kerala assembly elections as officials on Thursday counted the millions of votes across the state.

Election officials said that LDF candidates were leading in 83 constituencies and those of the ruling Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) in 50. The BJP led in two seats.

Kerala went to the polls three days ago to elect a 140-member assembly.

Five state ministers trailed. But Chief Minister Oommen Chandy was leading along with Marxist veterans V.S. Achuthanandan and Pinarayi Vijayan.

BJP candidates O. Rajagopal and Sobha Surendran were marginally ahead against their nearest rivals. High-profile independent candidate P.C. George was also leading.

A total of 1,203 contestants were in the fray. Most exit polls have predicted a victory for the Left. The BJP is hoping to win a seat in the Kerala assembly for the first time.

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