Kerala

Bogus voting confirmed in Manjeswaram: Meena

IUML activist arrested by police for polling offence; CEO rules out repolling in Ernakulam

Bogus voting has been confirmed in a booth in Manjeswaram in the byelections, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Teeka Ram Meena has said.

Addressing media persons here on Tuesday, he said Nabeesa, a Indian Union Muslim League activist, was arrested by the Manjeswaram police for having committed the offence in polling booth number 43. She has been booked under Sections 171 (d) and 171 (f) (both pertaining to impersonation at elections) of the Indian Penal Code.

The Election Commission has pegged the total poll percentage in the byelections at 69.93.

Highest percentage

According to the final figures, Aroor recorded the highest poll percentage of 80.47.

The corresponding figures in Manjeswaram, Konni, Vattiyurkavu and Ernakulam are 75.78, 70.07, 62.66 and 57.9 respectively. A total of 6,69,596 voters have cast their votes from 896 polling booths.

The Manjeswaram constituency reported the highest number of machine failure. As many as 24 VVPAT machines malfunctioned in Manjeswaram.

Less instances were reported from other constituencies – Ernakulam (five), Aroor (seven), Konni (11) and Vattiyurkavu (4). Twelve EVMs were found to have been damaged prior to the commencement of polling. However, no complaint under Section 49 MA of Code of Election Rules (regarding discrepancies in the functioning of EVMs and VVPATs) were lodged during the byelections.

Two complaints in this regard had been received during the last polls.

The CEO has turned down demands for re-polling in various booths in the Ernakulam Assembly constituency in view of the heavy downpour and intense waterlogging that left many unable to cast their votes.

Explaining the move to disallow extension of polling in the constituency, Mr. Meena said the decision was taken on the basis of the returning officer’s report. The matter had also been referred to the Election Commission.

“Polling can be extended only in the event of sabotage, malpractices, machine damage or any other exigencies that have been stated in the poll manual. We ensured that every person who had reached polling stations by 6 p.m. were provided the opportunity to cast their votes. This was as good as granting extension (for the voting process),” he said.

Reacting to the legal notice that he has been served by the Nair Service Society (NSS) for ‘false insinuation’, the CEO said he held all such organisations in high regard and never intended to malign them. “The comments had been made during the elections. The matter stands closed as far as I am concerned,” Mr. Meena said, adding that he did not regret having made the remarks.

Three complaints

The officer said he had received three complaints against the NSS, all of which have been referred to the State Police Chief and the District Electorate Officer to conduct factual inquiries.

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Printable version | Feb 21, 2020 8:43:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/bogus-voting-confirmed-in-manjeswaram-ceo/article29770329.ece

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