Dharmajan Bolgatty, Kerala actor and the candidate of Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) contesting from Kozhikode’s Balussery Assembly constituency, alleged that a few workers of Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), which is part of CPI(M), denied him entry inside a polling booth. Visuals of the incident, which was aired by a few news channels, show a group of men asking Dharmajan to leave from the polling booth. The incident took place at Sivapuram booth numbers 187 and 188 in Balussery on Tuesday.
Speaking to Asianet News, Dharmajan said, “I’m contesting for election for the first time, I do not know if there is a problem entering the polling booth. So when they asked me to come out, I exited.” He also added that if there was a problem, it should have been the officials who would have asked him to move out.
Dharmajan Bolgatty later told the media that as a candidate, he had the right to enter the polling booth and that he had obtained a pass from election officials. According to the rules by the Election Commission, a candidate is permitted inside the polling station. “Apart from the electors, only the following persons can be admitted into the polling station by the Presiding Officer: Polling Officers; each candidate, his election agent and one polling agent of each candidate at a time...,” states the Election Commission guidelines.
“I entered the booth to oversee the progress of the polling. I have the right and the pass as well. A DYFI member approached me and spoke to me rudely. He questioned my authority to enter the polling booth,” he told the media. Dharmajan also added that he was not trying to influence anyone but rather was just visiting the station.
Dharmajan, a native of Bolgatty in Ernakulam district, was fielded as Congress candidate in Balussery, which is a constituency reserved for Scheduled Castes. Initially, his candidature had brought opposition from the local Congress party leaders in the region, stating that seat should be given to local leaders.
Watch video: Dharmajan restricted entry to polling booth