The chance of dual voting by Tamil voters living in the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border areas, in the coming Lok Sabha elections, is a major concern for the officials as there is a wide gap between the elections in the two States.
The Tamil voters are registered as permanent residents in the estate lanes and in the towns including, Kumily, Vandiperiyar, Perrumdae, Elappara, Udumbanchola, Munnar, Devikulam and in a number of estate towns in the High Ranges as they are living there for generations.
Their names find a place in the electoral lists of their native place in Tamil Nadu too.
A senior police official told The Hindu on Thursday that the chances of dual voting are high this time owing to the wide gap in the elections with April 10 in Kerala and April 24 in Tamil Nadu. A rough estimate states that there are over 40,000 Tamil voters in the estate areas and it may be difficult to monitor them as large number of them have been in the voters' list of the two states.
Political parties had been keen on “utilising” these votes especially in the local bodies and assembly elections to “win over” the rival in the close contest, said a trade union leader on condition of anonymity.
The voters are “paid” in advance in such close contests to ensure the voting, he adds.
The Tamil voters are more affiliated to the main political parties in Tamil Nadu and it is a practice by the two fronts to bring the leaders of Tamil parties to win back the Tamil voters. Posters printed in Tamil and house-to-house campaigns are conducted by the local people to gain support of these voters.
A meeting of the top level officials of Revenue and Police of Theni in Tamil Nadu and Idukki districts were held the other day at Kumily to chalk out the counter measures to check dual voting.
Deputy Collector (Election) Madhu Gangadar told The Hindu that it was decided to strictly monitor movements of vehicles on the check posts at Kumily, Cumbom Mettu and Bodimettu to counter dual voting on the respective polling dates in the two states. He said that the porous border routes, which are being used to travel on foot will also be checked.
Compared to the local body elections, such chances are less, he said adding that a large number of officials will be on duty to take stock of the situation.
Since the election process has been made transparent with electronic voting machines, it is possible to trace the voters too as the voters' list is available through the website, he added.