Kozhikode: With the Election Commission coming down heavily on CPM workers involved in bogus voting incidents in Kasaragod and Kannur Lok Sabha constituencies, more such complaints started pouring in from other seats in the northern Kerala even as the Left party tried to play it down.
In Kozhikode, District Congress Committee president T Siddique alleged that a local CPM leader and his wife tried to cast a 'second vote' in another booth, after casting their ballots in Beypore. Siddique has filed a complaint before district collector S Sambasiva Rao.
“The names of this CPM local leader and his wife were found on the electoral list in two places. After casting their vote in booth no. 35 in Beypore in the morning, they tried to cast their ballot in booth no. 71 in Olavanna. Since we knew that they have two votes, we had informed the authorities as well as the booth committees. UDF polling agent, who tried to stop their bids in the booth, was attacked by CPM workers. Nallalam police have registered a case in this regard,” Siddique said.
(Both the above-mentioned booths are in the Kozhikode Lok Sabha constituency.)
Siddique also alleged that this same CPM activist and his wife were protected and safely shifted from the booth by the police and their party workers, when the situation turned worse. “However, the presiding officer did not complain and we have also filed a petition against him,” he said.
Similarly, in Balussery booth no.174 also, another local leader of the CPM was prevented from casting a 'second vote'. He had already cast his vote in booth no. 178 - the government lower primary school, Unnikulam, but tried to cast a 'second vote' in booth no. 174 - Unnikulam upper primary school, where he himself was a booth agent.
The Congress has already taken up the issue before the Chief Electoral Officer Teeka Ram Meena after TV channels, since Saturday, started airing visuals of bogus voting "caught on camera" in the Kasaragod Lok Sabha constituency.
In Kasaragod, district collector Dr D Sajith Babu has summoned a voter to appear before him by Tuesday.
According to sources, bogus voting was reported from booth number 48 in Thrikkarippur, which comes under the Kasaragod Lok Sabha constituency. They said that the CCTV records received show that the particular voter appeared in the same booth for voting more than once. Statements were recorded from the webcasting officer, presiding officer as well as the first, second and third polling officers, sectoral officer and the booth-level officer.
On Sunday, Meena had asked for a detailed report from the district collectors of Kannur and Kasaragod from where these incidents were mostly reported. Kerala voted on April 23 for all 20 Lok Sabha seats.
The district collectors have already met officials attached to the polling booths where these incidents were reported from and sought their version.
However, the CPM tried to play down the issue with state Industries minister E P Jayarajan saying what happened was companion voting and not bogus voting. M V Jayarajan, CPM's Kannur district secretary, explained late on Saturday that his party workers had done only "open voting".
However, Congress candidate from Kasaragod Lok Sabha constituency Rajmohan Unnithan told mediapersons on Monday that there was no such thing called "open voting".
"What is there in law is companion voting. But in the visuals, all these people were voting themselves. Under law, if a person is unable to cast his vote, one can have a companion in the polling booth," said Unnithan, adding that chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan should speak up.
Meena also had explained that there is nothing called 'open voting' and companion voting means the voter will be accompanied by a person to the booth for help in casting the ballot.