Special Correspondent

Deploy paramilitary forces: Congress

CPI(M) alleges attempt to manipulate the rolls Congress wants Central forces deployed in sensitive booths Left parties seek Assembly elections in late April, or early May Congress suggests two-phase polls

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Congress has urged the Election Commission to deploy paramilitary forces near sensitive polling booths, particularly in Kannur and Kasaragod districts, during the upcoming Assembly elections in the State.

The party leaders made this demand to Chief Election Commissioner B.B. Tandon during his meeting with national and State party leaders here on Tuesday.

Mr. Tandon, who arrived here for a two-day firsthand assessment of the State's preparedness for the elections, said the commission had received many complaints about the electoral rolls in the State.

During their meeting with Mr. Tandon, leaders of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and the CPI, two major Opposition parties in the State, urged the commission to hold the elections in late April, or early May, after rectifying the anomalies in the electoral rolls.

Leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the third major player in the political scene, did not attend the meeting. The Congress delegation, comprising Thalekkunnil Basheer, K.C. Joseph, K. Sudhakaran, V.S. Sivakumar and Peelipose Thomas, urged the Election Commission to insist on use of photo identity cards for voting and hold the elections in two phases.

They also wanted steps to clean up the electoral rolls, which, they said, still had several anomalies, such as double entries and presence of names of deceased persons.

The CPI(M) delegation, comprising M.A. Baby and A. Vijayaraghavan, MP, also felt that the voters' list needed some cleaning up, and alleged that attempts were on by certain parties to manipulate the rolls using their political clout. The delegation wanted the election to be held in late April, or early May.

The CPI delegation concurred with the CPI(M) view, but underscored the need to hold the election in one phase. It also sought one more opportunity for people to include their names in the electoral rolls.

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