Thiruvananthapuram: Chief Electoral Officer Teeka Ram Meena on Thursday ordered repoll in three booths in Kasargod parliamentary constituency and one booth in Kannur constituency where bogus votes were detected.
The four booths which will go for repoll are Booth No 19, Pilathara, booth No 69 Puthiy-angadi Jamaath HS North Block, booth No 70 Jamaath HS South Block in Kalliyaseri Assembly seat of Kasargod parliamentary constituency. Booth No 166 Pamburuthy Mappila AUPS in Thaliparamba segment of Kannur Lok Sabha constituency.
The voting in these booths will take place between 7 am to 6 pm on May 19. This is the first time that Election Commission has ordered repoll in the state because of bogus voting.
The candidates have been allowed time till Friday 5 pm to campaign in these areas.
The EC had earlier cancelled the polling in these four booths. It took the decision after evaluating in detail the reports of returning officers, chief electoral officer, general observers and the evidence presented by the officials.
The EC action has been initiated invoking Section 58 of the Repres-entation of Peoples Act 1951.
The EC has directed the returning officers to make the necessary arrangements for the re-poll and convey the decision to the political parties . The general observers will also be informed about the EC decision.
It may be recalled that Mr Meena swung into action after Malayalam news channels aired visuals of bogus voting by three women in Kalliyasseri on April 27. The returning officers of the Kasargod was directed to conduct a probe and record statements of the accused.
Based on the findings of the returning officers, the CEO ordered registration of cases against three women under Section 171 (c), 171(d) and 171(f) of IPC.
Though Meena had recommended disqualification of a panchayat member Saleena N.P., the State Election Commission rejected the plea on the grounds that CEO had no powers to recommend such action.
As many as 13 bogus votes were detected in Pamburuthy and Dharmadom in Kannur Lok Sabha constituency. Criminal cases were registered under Section 171 C,D and F of IPC.
Criminal proceedings were also initiated against presiding officer, polling officer and micro observer in Pamburhuthy for grave lapses on their part. Action was initiated against them under Section 134 of Representation of the People Act. Besides, departmental action was also recommended against the officials.
The CEO’s action against CPM and Muslim League workers had triggered a major controversy. Initially, CPM hit out at the CEO accusing him of targeting the ruling party workers. The party threatened to move legally against Mr Meena.
The Opposition UDF which was in the forefront accusing the CPM of being masters of bogus votes, went almost into a silent mode when Muslim League workers were also caught on camera casting bogus votes.
However, despite series of attacks from top political leaders including CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balarkishnan, Meena stuck to his decision. He made it clear that anyone, irrespective of the ruling or Opposition front, involved in bogus votes will not be spared.
Mr Meena went ahead with stringent action based on the reports submitted by the Returning Officers. With the EC announcing the repoll, the Election Commission vindicated the uncompromising stand taken by the Chief Electoral Officer.
The CEO got a pat from Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan who said the officer was only discharging his duties. This forced the CPM state secretary to come out with the statement that party had not asked any worker to cast bogus votes. Those who have indulged in this illegal act will have to face legal action personally. The CPM will not protect such elements.
The LDF and UDF candidates of Kasargod have welcomed the EC decision to conduct re-poll in four booths.
Meanwhile, on the police postal votes malpractice the CEO has clarified that action will be taken after HC decision. The matter is pending before the HC and the CEO has submitted all details to the court....