“Rigging in Chennai could not have taken place without collusion of police”

State secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) G. Ramakrishnan has urged State Election Commissioner S. Ayyar to order re-poll in at least five wards of the Chennai Corporation, where workers of the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhgam allegedly indulged in rigging, during the first phase of local body elections on Monday,

Addressing a press conference here, Mr Ramakrishnan said that the party would send a memorandum to Mr. Ayyar. Depending on the response it would take further action.

He said that in ward numbers 35, 48, 50, 76 and 104 groups of AIADMK workers entered the polling stations and cast votes in the electronic voting machines. In ward No.35 they assaulted Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam candidate Velmurugan and his brothers. T

hese incidents could not have taken place without the collusion of the police.

The direction of the Madras High Court to install web cameras in polling stations was not complied with.

Mr. Ramakrishnan said that the AIADMK activists emulated the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, during whose rule there was large-scale rigging in the Chennai Corporation elections in 2006.

After the CPI (M) moved the Madras High Court, it gave a ruling that re-poll should be conducted in 99 wards.

Drawing a lesson from the first phase of polls the SEC should take precautionary measures to avert rigging and violence in the second phase on October 19.

He hoped that the same kind of mistakes would not recur at the counting centres. There was a talk of ruling party workers planning to rig the counting of votes and the onus was on the SEC to prevent such an eventuality.

He said that the SEC was endowed with powers equivalent to that of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEC) to transfer District Collectors and police officers if the need arose during the conduct of elections or in the interest of conducting peaceful elections.

Mr. Ramakrishnan reiterated that like the CEC, the SEC should also be appointed by the Chief Election Commission to act independently.

He doubted the independence of the SEC who is appointed by the State government.

It was an insult to the electorate and democracy that ruling party activists, including Ministers, were urging voters to vote for their candidates failing which welfare schemes would not reach them. It was the kind of strategy adopted by the Congress in the last Assembly elections that enured that party's drubbing at the hustings.

Mr. Ramakrishnan said that the DMDK-Left parties' alliance had created resurgence among the cadres and people and would be reflected in the outcome of the polls.

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