Kerala polling officer, who wore mask with CPI(M) party symbol, suspended

K Saraswathi was found wearing a mask with the party symbol printed on during the first phase of the Kerala local body polls on Tuesday.
Saeaswathy polling officer
Saeaswathy polling officer
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The polling officer in Kerala’s Kollam district, who was removed from duty over complaints of wearing a mask with CPI(M) party symbol, has been suspended from her job by the government. K Saraswathi, a senior grade PD teacher at KGV UP School in Elampalloor, was on duty at Velankonam Johns Cashew Factory polling booth as the first phase of Kerala local body election was underway on Tuesday. She was found wearing a white mask with the ‘sickle, hammer and star’ symbol of the CPI(M) printed on it.

Following this, a few Congress workers raised criticisms and informed Kollam District Collector B Abdul Nasar. She was immediately removed from duty after a preliminary inquiry. After sub-collector Sikha Surendran submitted a detailed inquiry, the polling officer was suspended from service.

The first phase of Kerala local body polls was completed on Tuesday. The polling percentage was 72.67%. State Election Commissioner V Bhaskaran told the media that the higher rate of polling, even at the time of a pandemic, shows people's trust in democracy.

The first phase of polling was in Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Alappuzha, Pathanamthitta and Idukki. This includes two Corporations, 20 municipalities and 50 block panchayats.

A total of 34,744 polling stations have been arranged across Kerala for about 27 million voters.

In the first phase, more than 24,500 candidates are contesting from five districts. More than 56,000 personnel were deployed for election duty.

The second phase of the polls will be held in Ernakulam, Kottayam, Thrissur, Palakkad and Wayanad districts on December 10. The third and final phase is in Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur and Kasaragod districts on December 14.

The polls are held for the 1199 local bodies of Kerala. A total of 74,899 candidates are contesting from the state this time.

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