Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president Ramesh Chennithala alleged here on Sunday that Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan had masterminded the violence at various polling booths in Kannur and Kasaragod districts on Saturday.
At a press conference, Mr. Chennithala said they had camped in Kannur and directed the party cadres to unleash violence. They were exercised about the defeat of the Left Democratic Front in the previous Lok Sabha elections and the Assembly by-elections and the fear that the CPI(M) was losing its grip on its strongholds in Kannur.
He said the State Election Commission could not escape blame because the Congress had written to it much before the elections for deployment of Central forces in Kannur and nearby areas. From experience, the Congress knew that the CPI(M) would resort to violence to sabotage the elections. However, the commission did not act promptly, leading to the ugly incidents.
Demanding an independent investigation into the incidents, such as damaging of ballot boxes and manhandling of polling officials in over 40 booths, Mr. Chennithala said the Excise personnel, Home Guards, ex-servicemen, National Cadet Corps members and forest guards deployed in Kannur for security during polling were ineffective.
He said that for the repolling on Monday, K. Sudhakaran, MP, had written to the commission seeking adequate security, video surveillance of booths, insistence on electoral photo identity cards or ration cards to cast votes and deployment of micro-level poll observers.
He said the United Democratic Front would remain unfazed by the violence and register a historic victory in the local body elections.
K.C. Venugopal, MP, and A.A. Shukoor, MLA, were present.