Thiruvananthapuram: The CPM-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) government in Kerala has backed the State Election Commission's decision to use the voters' list of 2015 for the local body polls.
The CPM and the LDF had earlier insisted on conducting the polls as per the database of the 2019 list used for the Lok Sabha polls. However, the government made a U-turn on Tuesday.
Minister for Local Self Government A C Moideen made it clear that the 2015 voters' list can be used. He further said that the Election Commission’s decision was final.
Earlier, Minister E P Jayarajan too had backed the Commission’s decision. But the CPM secretariat and Left Front meets had criticised the use of 2015 voters' list. Both the committees pointed out that it would be troublesome to include 40 lakh new voters to the list.
But the officials pointed out that the CPM and LDF did not give a written request, seeking to use the 2019 voters' list.
However, Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Mullappally Ramachandran had shot off a missive to the Commission, demanding to conduct the elections as per the 2019 list. But the Election Commission replied that additional expenses would be incurred and time would be wasted by avoiding the 2015 list. The Commission also said that all arrangements would be made to include the new voters.
Congress panchayat Raj Samiti chairman N Venugopal too demanded that the local body polls have to be held as per the voters' list of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Meanwhile, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan did not sign the ordinance on reorganising the wards even on Tuesday. Only after getting the Governor's approval can the ward division works can be started.
Application only through online
State Election Commissioner V Bhaskaran has said that the applications to add name to the voters' list has to made online. Applications can be made from January 20 to February 14.
Requests for removing the name from the voters' list also has to be made during the same time period. Website: http://www.lsgelection.kerala.gov.in./
High Court seeks explanation
The Kerala High Court has sought an explanation from the Election Commission on Tuesday while considering a petition that sought to conduct the local body polls as per the 2019 Lok Sabha voters' list.
Indian Union of Muslim League (IUML) Nadapuram Mandalam president Soopy Narikkatteri and Feroke municipal councillor P Ashraf filed the petition.
The petitioners contented that after the last local body polls, elections were held to the state Assembly and Lok Sabha, and it was wrong to use the old list now. The case would be taken up again after two weeks.