Defence Minister A.K. Antony has said that the Election Commission will decide whether the Central forces deployed in the Kannur Assembly constituency should 'sit in barracks' or in polling booths.

Addressing an election rally of the United Democratic Front (UDF) here on Tuesday, Mr. Antony said that Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan's reported statement that the Central forces deployed in the constituency by the EC would sit in barracks on the polling day betrayed a lack of understanding of the functioning of the EC and the election machinery.

Once the election was declared, government officials, revenue officials and the police in the constituencies were under the control of the EC. Even the Prime Minister or Home Minister or any government functionary had any control over the election machinery anywhere in the country.

Admitting that he was not personally happy about the deployment of the Central forces here, he said that the parties ruling the State now were responsible for creating a situation here that warranted the deployment of the forces. The EC had sent the Central forces because the ruling parties here acted in ways that would create obstacles to holding a free and fair election, he added.

The EC would not allow even Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishan to stay in the constituency on the polling day, Mr. Antony said.

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