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Bogus voting: CPI-M flays Kerala CEO for raw deal

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IANS Thiruvananthapuram
The CPI-M here on Tuesday alleged that Kerala's Chief Electoral Officer Teeka Ram Meena was not fair in the way he dealt with cases of bogus voting at the Kasargode Lok Sabha constituency in Kerala.
On Monday, Meena had ordered registering of a police case against Padmini, N.P. Saleena and Sumayya, three women attached to the CPI-M, for allegedly casting bogus votes.
While Sumayya, a former Panchayat member, was polling agent; Saleena is a Panchayat member. She has been asked to step down from the Panchayat and face an inquiry.
Addressing the media, CPI-M State Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said it was unfortunate that an official like Meena failed to even record statements of the women before declaring them "bogus voters".
"Natural justice has been denied to these women. They will seek legal recourse to the issue. Meena appears to have been driven by media speculations and he has fallen into the trap of the Congress-led UDF. He should have acted with more finesse and should have at least heard these women, made accused by him," said Balakrishnan.
The CPI-M leader also said the CEO had no powers to disqualify an elected local body member. That's the authority of the State Election Commissioner, he added.
"Meena also failed to provide necessary facilities at polling booths to enable physically challenged and ailing voters to cast vote. Without doing that, he says he didn't see any such people at the booths, when the companion vote was cast. He has taken the action, without providing infrastructure," he said.
Balakrishnan said Meena must act on Left's complaints of fake voting by UDF workers, just the way he acted on Monday.
Meanwhile, adding to the bogus voting charges, the Congress on Tuesday alleged that the vote of CPI-M legislator K. Kunhiraman's son was cast at the Udma polling booth in Kasargode, even though he worked abroad.
--IANS
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First Published: Apr 30 2019 | 5:28 PM IST

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