Ahead of the Lok Sabha polls in Kerala on April 23, Election Commission identified 162 locations in the state as ‘left-wing extremist affected’. These locations have been shortlisted as ‘left-wing extremist affected’ from about 4,482 sensitive polling stations in the state.
The police have identified 162 left-wing extremists (LWE) locations from Kozhikode, Malappuram, Kannur, Wayanad and Palakkad districts, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Teeka Ram Meena said on Saturday.
“There have been instances of violence among political parties in these LWE areas. Besides, the presence of Maoists in these areas over the last year has caused apprehensions of political violence,” Teeka Ram told TNM.
Of the 4,482 sensitive stations, the CEO added, about 817 polling stations are listed as ‘critical’ and 425 were ‘vulnerable’.
The CEO said that people from weaker sections of society and those who can be influenced come under the vulnerable stations, reports Business Standard. He also said that services of 57 companies of central force have been requested for the state. “About 4,700 personnel will be deployed in the state during the election,” he added.
The ECI has also released the C-Vigil mobile app to monitor illegal activities during the elections. About 17,000 complaints have been received through this app to date. According to the CEO, among these complaints, 14,447 cases have been found genuine. “The public should use the app more frequently to bring out the corrupt practises of elections,” said Teeka Ram Meena.
The commission has received about 31 cases of ‘gifts for votes’, 28 cases of money distribution and 1,200 cases of property defacement. About 147 cases have been reported of political parties or leaders persuading people to vote on the basis of religion.
The CEO also said that about Rs 14 crore has been seized from across the state by the special squad. It is suspected to be used for corrupt electoral practices.
According to the CEO, the total electorate strength is 2,61,46,853. Of this, 1,34,64,688 women, 1,26,81,992 are men and 173 are third gender voters.
Among the 3,67,818 first-time voters in the age group of 18-19, 1,99,548 are males, 1,68,251 females and 19 third gender voters.
In Kerala, Malappuram district registered the maximum number of first-time voters, that is, 60,469, Meena Ram Teeka said.