In the wake of spurt in incidents of political violence in Kerala, the Election Commission on Thursday asked the state's Chief Secretary to take "strict action" against criminals even as it rushed a senior official from New Delhi to take stock of the law and order situation.
Official sources said the Commission led by Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi and Election Commissioners A K Joti and O P Rawat met Kerala Chief Secretary P K Mohanty at the poll body's headquarter in New Delhi and directed him to keep a strict vigil on the law and order situation in the state and ensure a "conducive" environment required for polls in 140 seats on May 16.
They said the top state bureaucrat was also instructed to keep a close watch on issues like execution of non-bailable warrants, surrender of licenced firearms and confiscation of illegal weapons and ammunition.
The Commission, they said, also instructed Mohanty to direct district election officers and Superintendents of Police to undertake "intensive scrutiny" of history sheeters, anti-social elements who have been found involved in violence.
The BJP had recently asked the Commission to take strong measures for a violence-free poll in the state.
Former Kerala BJP chief V Muraleedharan was among 16 persons injured in an alleged attack by CPI-M workers at Kattayikonam on March 14.
The BJP had alleged that on March 8, RSS worker E K Biju was hacked, adding that hundreds of party workers over the years have been killed in Kannur.
Mohanty was further advised to instruct the officials to undertake preventive measures to avoid any untoward incident and take necessary action in cases of violation of model code of conduct "immediately."
The EC, officials said, also asked Sudeep Jain, the poll panel's Director General based in New Delhi, to visit Kerala tomorrow to review poll preparedness and take stock of the situation "more particularly the law and order" scenario.