Kerala Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Teeka Ram Meena on Friday ordered re-polling in two booths in the Kannur Lok Sabha constituency and in one booth at Kasaragod on May 19.
On Thursday, Meena had ordered re-poll in three booths in Kasaragod and one in the Kannur constituencies, and with this, seven polling booths in Kerala will see re-polling on account of complaints of bogus voting.
This is the first time in the state that a re-poll has been ordered for reasons of bogus voting.
Kasaragod's four booths in Kalliassery and Thrikkaripur Assembly segments and three booths in Kannur's Taliparamba and Dharmadam Assembly constituencies will go to the polls on Sunday after the EC declared the voting conducted at these polling stations on April 23 as "void".
The booths where voting will take place on Sunday include 52 and 53 in the Dharmadam assembly segment represented by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan under the Kannur Lok Sabha constituency, while booth number 48 in Trikaripur falls under the Kasaragod Lok Sabha seat.
Citing a letter dated May 10 submitted to the Commission by the Chief Electoral Officer of Kerala regarding "bogus voting" in these booths, the EC said the decision has been taken to conduct fresh polls in these polling stations under "sub-Section (1) and (2) of Section 58 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951".
The polling time in these booths has been fixed from 7 am to 6 pm on May 19 in accordance with the Commission's instructions contained in "chapter XIII of handbook for Returning Officer”.
Through a letter issued on Friday to the Returning Officers and Deputy Election Officers for Kasaragod and Kannur constituencies, the EC asked them to ensure that wide publicity is given to the re-polling by beat of drums in the polling areas. It also asked them to inform the political parties and the candidates concerned in writing about the fresh polling.
Starting April 27, TV channels in the state started airing visuals of people engaged in bogus voting, followed by a series of complaints from both the Congress and the CPI(M), which led the CEO to order the re-poll.
Meanwhile, the Congress candidate from Kasaragod, Rajmohan Unnithan, who hit the campaign trail on Friday once again, welcomed the CEO's decision.
His CPI(M) rival, K.P. Satish Chandran, is rushing back to his constituency for some last-minute campaigning before its scheduled close on Friday evening.
Meena is currently looking into complaints from other polling booths.
A total of 59 Lok Sabha seats across eight states will go to the polls in the seventh and final phase of polling on May 19.