Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala State Election Commission began counting of votes today at 8 am for 21,893 wards in 1,200 local bodies which went to polls in three phases.

As per trends at 12 pm, NDA is leading in 22 wards, LDF- 26, UDF -4, in Thiruvananthapuram Corporation. 

Seen as a pointer to the upcoming Assembly elections, the local body polls have generated a lot of interest both in Kerala as well as outside the state.

While the ruling LDF is hoping for an "iconic victory" on the back of welfare measures taken during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Congress-headed United Democratic Front (UDF) is hoping to corner the LDF over corruption cases most notably involving the Chief Minister's Office in a gold smuggling case.

The LDF is leading by four wards in Varkala municipality and one ward in Neyyattinkara, as per the early trends by the state election commission. In both bodies, the UDF and NDA have not led in any seat. The initial leads show LDF leading in five wards, BJP in three wards and Congress in two wards in Thiruvananthapuram.

Meanwhile, the United Democratic Front (UDF) is leading in four and the Left Democratic Front (LDF) in two out of six corporations.

The local body polls in Kerala were held in three phases. The first phase held on December 8 saw a turnout of 72.67% while the second phase held on December 10 saw a turnout of 76.38%. The final phase of the polls recorded a turnout of 78.64%.

The local body polls saw an electoral battle between the ruling party Left Democratic Front (LDF), United Democratic Front (UDF) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The BJP which is trying to gain a foothold in the state will look forward to win more constituencies to mount a challenge to the LDF government ahead of the 2021 Kerala assembly elections.