Kerala

Central forces to be deployed at 1,280 sites for polls

Teeka Ram Meena, Kerala Chief Election Officer. File Photo.  

The Election Commission has identified 298 Left-wing extremism-affected locations in five northern Kerala districts ahead of the April 6 Assembly polls. The polling booths in these locations will have one hour less for polling, said Chief Electoral Officer Teeka Ram Meena here on Saturday.

In addition to the 298 extremism-affected locations, election officials have identified 549 critical locations, and 433 vulnerable locations in the State. The LWE-hit locations are in Wayanad, Palakkad, Malappuram, Kozhikode and Kannur districts.

While the polling time has been fixed as 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the State, in the extremism-affected locations it will be from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Mr. Meena said.

Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) units, and not the Kerala Police, will have the primary role in providing security cover in the 1,280 locations. Each ‘location’ may contain multiple polling booths.

Kerala has asked for 150 companies of Central forces for the polls. Of these, 30 companies were deployed in different districts this week. The deployment of the Central forces is finalised by a panel headed by Mr. Meena and consisting of the State police nodal officer, Additional Director General of Police Manoj Abraham, and CAPF coordinator Sandeep Kumar.

Live webcast

As part of tackling vote fraud and bogus voting, 50% booths in the State will have live webcast. Only 10% of the booths had the facility on the last occasion, Mr. Meena said.

The Election Commission will provide protection during and after the elections to election officers for carrying out their duty impartially. “They should not sit silently. Stern action would be taken against officials who aid and abet bogus voting. Suspension will be followed by prosecution,” he said.

With the number of polling booths increasing to 40,771, the State would require around 3.5 lakh polling officials. COVID-19 vaccination for the officials was kicked off recently.

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Printable version | Apr 12, 2021 1:04:01 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/central-forces-to-be-deployed-at-1280-sites-for-polls/article33950778.ece

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