Communist Party of India (Marxist) State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan has said that the Election Commission (EC) has deployed the Central forces in the Kannur and Alappuzha Assembly constituencies as demanded by the Congress without any regard for facts to be considered for such a decision.

Speaking at a meet-the-press programme at the Press Club in Kannur on Thursday, Mr. Vijayan said in response to a question on the deployment of the Central Industrial Security Force by the EC that usually the State police personnel were posted for law enforcement during election time and police personnel from the neighbouring States were mobilised when the State police was found insufficient for law and order enforcement. The Central forces were considered only when both the State police and personnel from neighbouring States were not adequate for the purpose, he said adding that the State police now had

sufficient force for ensuring law and order in the three Assembly constituencies. “Has the EC made any assessment that the State’s police is not adequate for the law and order control in the three constituencies, and if so, what are the facts on which such an assessment has been made?”, he asked.

None of the three constituency had any situation that warranted the deployment of the Central forces, the CPI(M) leader said adding that the forces were deployed to give protection to voters. “We will question it if they fail to give protection to voters”, he added.

Stating that the Left Democratic Front (LDF) expected the EC to hold the election in a free and fair manner, he said that the Congress was often responsible for several occasions when the EC as a Constitutional institution for holding free and fair elections had come in for criticism. The Congress had often tried to bring the EC under its control, Mr. Vijayan alleged adding that a former Chief Election Commission had been made Minister by the Congress. “We always accept the impartiality of the EC, but oppose the EC whenever

it deviates from impartiality”, he added.

The EC should consider whether it was proper on its part to accept all the demands of the Congress, Mr. Vijayan said. He also said that the LDF had no concern about deployment of the Central forces. He, however, recalled that the Central forces had been deployed in West Bengal and Tripura on different occasions for capturing rule in the two States. On those occasions, the Central forces had given protection to people who tried to subvert the elections, he said adding that such a situation did not exist in the State today.

To another question on alleged manipulation of voters in the Kannur constituency, Mr. Vijayan said that those who had raised controversy over the allegation should now realise that the official verification

of new voters here had found only 800-odd voters as people who were not residing in the constituency.

Asserting that the LDF had maintained a clear lead throughout the electioneering in the constituencies, Mr. Vijayan said that the political situation during the Lok Sabha election had changed as even sections of people who had voted for the Congress-led alliance were now disillusioned because of anti-people policies of the United Progressive Alliance government including the Indo-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement. The UDF allegations were an attempt to divert the public from these issues, he said adding that the Congress had won the Lok Sabha election by creating a world of illusion.

The CPI(M) State secretary also questioned the allegation of the UDF leadership that the LDF government had failed in utilising funds sanctioned for the Central schemes. During the previous UDF government, the utilisation was 65-65 per cent which rose to 82.6 per cent during 2007-08. The utilisation in the current fiscal was all set to be a record, he added. The LDF government had also fared well in the utilisation of rural development funds which rose from 35 per cent during the UDF rule to 55 per cent during the LDF rule. There was hardly any utilisation of fund sanctioned under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme on the first year of its implementation when the State was ruled by the UDF government, he said. The State had been sanctioned a pilot project because of its successful implementation of the NREGP, he added.

To a question on the EC’s direction to Union Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi to return official expenses, if any, during his visit to the State in October, Mr. Vijayan said that the EC’s direction should be treated as a punishment, but he added that the EC had not examined all aspects of the complaints that the Minister had breached the election code of conduct during his visit here. The CPI(M) leader also said that the UDF candidate A.P. Abdullakutty was a nominee of K. Sudhakaran who he said was in the ‘fourth group’ in the Congress . Many Congress leaders including Union Minister of State for Home Mullappally Ramachandran had strongly opposed Mr. Abdullakutty’s entry into the party, he said.