Business Standard

three women cast bogus votes in Kasargod constituency: CEO


Press Trust of India Thiruvananthapuram
Kerala Chief Electoral Officer Teeka Ram Meena Monday said three women, including a panchayat member, cast bogus votes in Kasargod constituency in the April 23 Lok Sabha polls and said an enquiry would be held into the role of the polling officials.
Rejecting the bogus voting charge, the ruling CPI(M) hads justified the presence of the three women, saying they were doing "open voting" and 'assisting' certain voters who were unable to exercise their franchise independently and had welcomed any probe into the charge.
"We will conduct a detailed investigation into the role of the poll officials at the booth. The web-casting was arranged to capture those engaged in bogus voting. It helped us to prima facie conclude that bogus voting took place.
We have seen that two-three persons were engaged in bogus voting," Meena said.
"Since one of the three women, seen engaged in bogus voting, is a serving panchayat member, she should step down from the post," he said.
Asked about the term "open voting" used by the Left to defend the presence of its party workers in the video, Meena said he was hearing the term for the first time.
"As per our law, there is no open vote. When I asked the Collector about this, he told me the term might have been used in colloquial parlance for assisted or companion vote.Maybe there is a local reference like that.
Even companion vote, the voter must be present inside the booth. They could have brought the voter in wheel chair," Meena told reporters.
He said his office would send the report to the Election Commission.
The CEO said all options are open and parties could file an election petition in court after the declaration of the results.
The CEO also said the incidents involving the women come under the provision of impersonation under Indian Penal Code.
CCTV visuals of the polling booth, aired by a TV channel, showed the three women voting more than twice at polling booth number 17 and 19 at AUP School Pilathara in Kannur district, which is part of Kasaragod constituency.
The video also showed some local leaders inside the polling booth while the voting took place.
Kasaragod is considered the stronghold of CPI(M), which last tasted defeat here in 1984.
The party has fielded former MLA KP Satheesh Chandran from Kasaragod, thrice represented by veteran A K Gopalan.
Congress has fielded senior leader Rajmohan Unnithan to wrest the seat from the Left.

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First Published: Apr 29 2019 | 8:20 PM IST

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