Will deploy Central Armed Forces to avoid bogus voting: EC to Kerala HC

The High Court was hearing petitions by Congress candidates about bogus voters from neighbouring states crossing over into Kerala to cast double votes.
Will deploy Central Armed Forces to avoid bogus voting: EC to Kerala HC
Will deploy Central Armed Forces to avoid bogus voting: EC to Kerala HC
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Central Armed Police Forces will be deployed at check posts on polling day to ensure that bogus voting will not happen by people from neighbouring states crossing borders into Kerala, the Election Commission submitted before the High Court. The Standing Counsel to the EC was responding to petitions by four Congress candidates about double entries of voters in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Live Law reported that the Court heard the petitions of EM Augusthy, D Kumar, Cyriac Thomas and Shanimol Usman during a special sitting on Easter eve.

The petition of Augusthy, Kumar and Cyriac — the candidates in the Udumbanchola, Devikulam and Peerumedu Assembly constituencies of Idukki district — alleged that a number of voters have their names registered in their constituencies as well as in Tamil Nadu. All three constituencies share borders with Tamil Nadu. The petition said that these bogus voters were migrant labourers in Tamil Nadu crossing borders to cast votes in Kerala.

The candidates also alleged that Returning and Assistant Returning Officers on deputation to the EC were aligned to the ruling party (the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front). It would affect the fair conduct of the election, they said. The inclusion of these bogus voters in the voters' list and removal of blockade of border roads on election days were done to allow them to cross over on polling day, argued advocate George Poonthottam for the petitioners.

Advocate Deepu Lal Mohan, appearing for the EC, submitted a communication between Idukki District Collector and the Chief Election Commissioner in Thiruvananthapuram, assuring the steps taken to prevent bogus voting by people from neighbouring states.

Justice N Nagaresh, hearing the petition, said that it was evident from this letter that Central Armed Police will be deployed at check posts on polling day.

Shanimol, the Congress candidate from Aroor in Alappuzha, submitted a separate petition seeking the court’s permission for videography of poll proceedings in booths where double votes are suspected, at her own expense. She claimed that there are more than 2,537 double votes in Aroor. Advocate Deepu contended that the EC has made arrangements for webcasting of elections in 46% of the polling stations. The EC has also given to political parties, a list of absentee and dead voters and also voters who shifted places, he said. In addition, voters whose names appear more than once could leave the polling booths only after the electoral ink has dried on their fingers.

The court responded to Shanimol's petition by directing the EC to consider the feasibility of webcasting or videographing those booths listed by the petitioner as having double votes and not already figuring in the 46% being videographed.

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