A re-polling will be conducted in four polling booths spread across two districts in Kerala, for the first time in recent election history of the state, because of confirmed cases of bogus voting, according to apex poll panel, the Election Commission.
The re-polling will be conducted in three booths—labelled as booth number 19 , 69 and 70—in Kasargode district and one booth—labelled as 116— in Kannur, on 19 May. Out of the four booths, the Election Commission found the polling manipulated by bogus voting in two booths by communist workers and in the other two by Indian Union Muslim League workers.
Soon after Kerala's polling was over on 23 April, Congress party, the main opposition in Kerala, charged the ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist), or CPM, over widespread bogus voting in Kannur and Kasargod districts. Congress local leaders complained to the respective district collectors and the commission, along with visuals webcast from the security cameras in the booths as evidence.
Within days, the charges boomeranged on Congress itself. The CPM unearthed webcast visuals from booths where Congress ally Muslim League's workers were seen to be casting bogus votes. Teeka Ram Meena, Kerala's chief electoral officer, later confirmed at least four such cases of bogus voting and asked the state government to initiate criminal action against the party workers involved. On Thursday, the Election Commission approved its recommendation for re-polling in these booths.
The parties will get time until Friday evening for campaigning. The Left camp is positive on winning Kasaragode but is facing a tough fight in Kannur. Congress state president Mullapally Ramachandran said it is a moral victory for Congress. "We congratulate the Chief Electoral Officer's decision to conduct re-polling. Congress will lend all support to conduct free and fair polls," he said in a statement.
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