It is a neck and neck race in Kerala as counting began in 64 counting centres across the State on Friday morning. The State is heading for a close finish in the Assembly elections with the Opposition UDF ahead in 72 of the 140 constituencies and the ruling Front just behind with leads or wins in 68 constituencies.

The BJP has lost its initial leads in Nemom and Kasaragod constituencies. A. P. Abdullakutty (Congress) defeated Devaswom Minister Kadannappally Ramachandran in Kannur constituency. Former Minister and CMP leader M. V. Raghavan is facing defeat in Nenmara constituency.

Chief Minister V. S. Achuthanandan is leading in Malampuzha constituency and Opposition Leader Oommen Chandy won from Puthupally constituency with a margin of about 17000 votes.

JSS leader and former Minister K. R. Gouri is trailing in Cherthala constituency in Alappuzha district.

Varkala Kahar (Congress) won with a lead of more than 10000 votes from Varkala though the result is to be formally declared. He defeated SFI leader A. A. Rahim (CPI-M).

Muslim League Leaders P. K. Kunhalikutty and M. K. Muneer are leading in Malappuram district. In Thodupuzha, Kerala Congress (Mani) leader P. J. Joseph is leading. The LDF is leading in several of the four constituencies in Palakkad district for which initial leads were available.

Speaker K. Radhakrishnan is leading in Chelakkara. In Wayand district, the UDF has established a clear lead. UDF candidates are leading in Mananthavadi, Kalpetta , Varkala and Vadakara constituencies. The LDF is leading in Kozhikode North, Dharmadam, Koduvally, Udumbanchola and Nadapuram.

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