At the end of a month-long caustic campaign which ended in incidents of sporadic violence, Kerala voted peacefully on Wednesday, registering nearly 75 per cent polling to elect 140 members to the state Assembly.
This is the highest poll percentage in recent times and political leaders and psephologists are already trying to puzzle it out.
Last time around, it was 73.28 per cent.
In the four Assembly elections since 1987, the average poll tally has been less than 73 per cent.
Exceptions were in 1977, the post-Emergency election, which recorded 79.19 per cent and 80.54 per cent in 1987, when electors were disgusted with the Karunakaran style of governance.
The young and the old stood in orderly queues in front of 20,000-odd booths across the state on Wednesday to assert their franchise.
Poll analysts were reluctant to give out a verdict on the basis of the high turnout but agree that two factors that brought voters out were the candidacy of Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan which helped mobilise the Left, and the minority consolidation that bolstered the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) prospects.
The major coalitions were immodest in claiming victory, with the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the Opposition UDF, claiming the verdict was overwhelmingly in their favour.
Polling figures show that Kannur district recorded the highest turnout of 80.30 per cent, closely followed by Kozhikode with 80.20 per cent, while Thiruvananthapuram recorded the lowest turnout at 68.30 per cent.
Barring a few minor skirmishes reported at a few places, the election process ended on a peaceful note.
There were 971 candidates, including 78 women, in the fray. Asian Age