Kasaragod BLO suspended for allegedly ignoring double entry in voters' list to favour Left

Representational graphic
Representational graphic

Kasaragod: A Civil Supplies official, who doubles up as booth-level officer (BLO), has been suspended from service for allegedly ignoring a double entry in the voters' list to "help the Left Front get an extra vote".

Kasaragod Collector and District Election Officer Inbasekhar K suspended booth-level officer Ravi M of Cheemeni's booth No. 20 pending inquiry on Tuesday, April 23. The official said he was trapped by the complainant.

The action was taken based on a complaint filed by MSW student M V Shilparaj, a resident of Chembakranam in Kasaragod's Cheemeni village.

Shilparaj, who is also an RTI activist, said he had lost his old Voter ID and applied for a new one. On Monday, April 22, party workers came home with two voters' slips with his name. "I immediately contacted the taluk office to get the old entry removed to prevent bogus voting on election day," he said.

Later in the day, Ravi, the BLO, came home to take back the slips to process the deletion. In the evening, Ravi returned to Shilparaj's house to inform him of the development.

But Shilparaj released an audio in which Ravi purportedly said: "Jayaram told me about this (double entry). I told him it is not an issue. If he is voting, let him. But I got scared when I got calls from the top. It is trouble for us too. They will ask us why we did not report it. There are three or four such cases. Since you are a Left-leaning person, I thought if they get one ... vote, so be it."

When contacted, Ravi denied saying it. He said he reported the double entry to the village office and went back to Shilparaj's home to inform him about that. His name was listed against serial numbers 411 and 1116. "He wanted the old entry deleted. But the village officer said only the new entry can be put on hold. I went to his house to inform him," he said.

A village official said the BLO reported three double entries on Monday. Once the voters' list is finalised, the double entries cannot be deleted. "They can only report to the presiding officers to prevent double voting," the official said. He withheld his comments on the alleged voice clip of the BLO.

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