Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Ramesh Chennithala has said that a large number of new additions and deletions in the electoral roll for the by-election in the Kannur Assembly constituency are part of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)'s calculated attempt to subvert the will of the people in the constituency.
Speaking at a meet-the-press programme organised by the Press Club in Kannur on Thursday, Mr. Chennithala said the addition of 9,357 new voters in the electoral roll mostly by transferring party voters from other constituencies to this constituency was an attempt by the CPI(M) to ‘steal’ the votes of genuine voters. Terming the practice of large scale transfer of voters from other constituencies ahead of the by-election a grave threat to democracy, he said that equally worrying was the deletion of 6,386 voters from the roll without serving any notice on them. In the Alappuzha and Ernakulam constituencies, the voters whose names had been deleted totalled 483 and 165 respectively.
Referring to the practice of ‘manipulating’ the voters’ list as an affront to the people in the constituency, the KPCC president said the Congress and the United Democratic Front (UDF), however, was confident that its candidate A.P. Abdullakutty would win the seat with a huge majority as the Kannur Assembly segment had given a margin of 23,000 votes to the Congress candidate, K. Sudhakaran, in the Lok Sabha election. He said the CPI(M)’s bid to subvert the by-election in its favour had begun much earlier with the handpicking of partisan officials including the District Collector before the election process started. He said this had been brought to the notice of the Election Commission.
Stating that the UDF still treated the final electoral roll as a defective one, Mr. Chennithala said the party was planning to take a legal recourse to get justice in the matter. Asked whether the UDF had thought it got justice from the Election Commision on its complaint about the electoral roll, he said the entire election machinery was being controlled by the CPI(M)-led government and this machinery was providing information. The practice of largescale transfer of votes ahead of the by-election even warranted serious debates on amending the People’s Representation Act to prevent such manipulations of electoral rolls.
Observing that the election results in Maharashtra, Haryana and Arunachal Pradesh would instill enthusiasm among the UDF workers involved in the by-election campaign in the three constituencies in the State, Mr. Chennithala said the election results in the three States were enough to prove that only the Congress could provide a secular and democratic leadership. The fact that no anti-incumbency fact had affected the Congress prospects in these States was also a recognition of Sonia Gandhi’s leadership, he added.
The KPCC president said there was no fundamental change in the political situation after the Lok Sabha election and therefore, the outcome of the elections in the three by-elections would be favourable for the UDF. The results would be the people’s verdict against the LDF government’s performance over the past 40 months, he said adding that no other government had been as anti-people as the present government. Developmental activities were in a standstill and even the Central projects were not being implemented in a time-bound manner. The State could utilise only less than 25 per cent of the Central allocation for the National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme, he said.
Mr. Chennithala also said the law and order situation in the State had never been worse as mafia groups were functioning as parallel government. He alleged that the ‘CPI(M)-police-mafia alliance’ was a major threat to peace in the State. The CPI(M) had learnt no lessons from its setback, Mr. Chennithala said, adding that the CPI(M)’s claim to have given a facelift to the party was just an eyewash. “How can the CPI(M) Polit Bureau that protects the accused in the SNC Lavalin corruption case, act against corrupt practices of other party workers?,” he asked.
Keywords: Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee, KPCC, president, Ramesh Chennithala, Kannur Assembly, Communist Party of India (Marxist), CPI(M), transfer party voters, votes, voters, voters' list, electoral roll, election, by-elections, Congress, Sonia Gandhi, UDF, LDF