The Left Democratic Front (LDF) boycotted the election to the director board of the Kannur District Co-operative Bank held in Kannur on Sunday amidst unprecedented police arrangements, alleging ‘undemocratic’ methods by the UDF to capture the administration of the bank which had been controlled by the LDF over the past few terms.

The LDF leaders including Communist Party of India (Marxist) leaders E.P. Jayarajan, MLA, party district secretary P. Jayarajan and M.V. Jayarajan announced barely 30 minutes after the polling began that they were boycotting the election in protest against the alleged attempt by the UDF to subvert the election. The police present at the Government Women Teacher Training School, Payyambalam polling station did not allow the election procedure to be disrupted. The boycott of the election by the LDF thus set the stage for the UDF candidates to win the director board of the bank hands down.

While the police arranged three barricaded entry points to the polling station, the LDF workers quarrelled with the polling officials posted in one of them for first level screening, alleging that the there were discrepancies in the photographs of the LDF workers delegated as agents and voters in the authorisation documents.

The voters were waiting in queue before the polling began at 8 a.m., as standoff between the LDF workers and the officials threatened to mar the election process to begin. The police officers present on the spot did not allow the protest to cause any disruption, even as the protesting LDF workers led by Mr. M.V. Jayarajan were allowed to raise their allegation of discrepancies before the returning officer. After meeting the returning officer, the LDF leaders announced the boycott decision.

The LDF workers including voters then staged a sit-in on the road for some time blocking the voters at one of the entry points. They also staged a protest march in the town. Mr. Jayarajan alleged that the photos of the genuine LDF voters were changed to deny them their right to vote.

The polling continued unaffected as the voters reached the polling station through two other entry points. More than 800 police personnel led by Superintendent of Police Rahul R. Nair and Deputy Superintendent of Police P. Sukumaran were deployed in and around the polling station for holding the election in which total number of voters, mostly delegates of the co-operative societies in the district, were 1267. Only 1170 of them had secured the authorisation to cast their votes.

The main bone of contention was the inclusion of nearly 200 societies in the voters list as the LDF alleged that those societies could not cast their votes because they were liquidated. The High Court, however, had directed the polling officials to put those votes in a separate ballot box, though there was no bar on counting those votes.

The UDF leaders present near the polling station are jubilant over the prospect of the bank being controlled by the UDF after several years. They are also preparing for celebrating the win after the election results are announced on completion of the polling at 4 p.m. UDF leaders including district Congress president K. Surendran, A.P. Abdullakutty, MLA, Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee general secretary Satheeshan Pacheni, M. Narayanankutty and Choorayi Chandran were also present near the polling station.

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