Elaborate law and order arrangements are under way here in connection with the election to the Kannur District Cooperative Bank here on February 10, with both the United Democratic Front (UDF) and the Left Democratic Front (LDF) pitching for a do or die battle to wrest the control of the bank’s administration.
The bank election has already drawn the political attention in the backdrop of the LDF’s protests alleging that the UDF is using officials to capture the bank’s administration by undemocratic means and the UDF’s rejoinder that the LDF protests betray its nervousness over the prospect of losing the election.
The atmosphere of confrontation between the two sides has already instilled a sense of concern over the law and order situation here in connection with the election. The district police, however, are leaving nothing to chance to ensure an incident-free election.
Superintendent of Police Rahul R. Nair told The Hindu that over 800 police personnel would be deployed near the polling station at the Government Women Teacher Training School at Payyambalam here. Additional forces outside the district would also be mobilised, he said adding that video cameras would be installed at several points. The police arrangements are to avert any trouble in connection with the election, he said.
The election will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The road to the polling station will be secured by the police from Saturday night. The police personnel in large numbers were already posted in front of District Congress Committee office and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) district committee office here.
The polling officials said that voters would be screened at two points before they were allowed to cast their votes.
The officials said that nearly 1,170 cooperative societies out of 1,267 societies in the voters’ list had availed themselves of the authorisation cards for delegating the persons to cast their votes. Votes of 193 societies under liquidators would be kept in a separate ballot box as per the High Court direction.
Though there was no bar on counting those votes, a final decision on the votes would be subject to the court’s decision, the officials said. The High Court had allowed the candidates to install cameras inside the polling station at their own costs.
The run up to the election has been marred by protests by LDF candidates and the holding of the electoral officer captive for some time on February 8 by LDF workers demanding release of the voters’ list. The LDF candidates approached the local court here on Friday seeking a search warrant in view of the apprehension that the voters’ list was likely to be tampered with.
The court, however, rejected the plea. Both sides say they are pinning their hopes on holding the election in a free and fair manner.