A video of some people purportedly casting their votes multiple times in Kannur district of Kasargod Lok Sabha constituency in Kerala went viral on social media on Saturday. The seat, along with 19 other parliamentary constituencies, went to polls in the third phase of Lok Sabha elections on April 23.
State’s Chief Electoral Officer Tikaram Meena has sought a report from the Kannur and Kasargod district collectors. “The whole purpose of having webcasting on polling day is meant to tackle this [bogus voting],” Meena said, according to IANS. “As soon as we receive an official complaint, we will do what needs to be done.”
A video aired by Malayalam news channel Mathrubhumi claims to show several people involved in bogus voting at polling booth number 19 in Kannur district. The visuals shows a woman casting her vote twice, while another person is seen casting bogus vote, the report said. Visuals also showed purported use of fake identity cards.
The video also showed some political leaders standing inside the polling booth while the voting took place. Several reports speculated that polling officials may have been involved in the rigging. Nearly six people were involved in bogus voting in polling booth number 19 alone, reports said.
Meanwhile, a woman is seen waiting inside the booth for a long time until she returned without casting her vote. According to Mathrubhumi, the woman was asked to wait after she found that her vote was already cast by someone else.
The Kasargod seat is considered to be the stronghold of the CPI(M). The Left was defeated from the seat the last time in 1984.
Opposition hits out at CPI(M)
Congress Leader Ramesh Chennithala alleged that the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has resorted to bogus voting fearing defeat in the elections. “From video evidence, it could be seen that the Left has cast around 5,000 bogus votes in Kasargod constituency,” PTI quoted Chennithala as saying. “We will take appropriate legal steps. We have warned the poll officials of such unlawful practices much before the polling day, but the authorities failed to take any action.”
Congress has fielded Rajmohan Unnithan to wrest the seat from Left’s KP Satheesh Chandran. Unnithan said casting bogus votes was not new in CPI(M)-dominated areas. “We have been saying this for a while now, but nothing has happened. Appropriate action should be taken against such undemocratic acts,” he said, according to IANS.
Congress leader K Sudhakaran said the party had informed the district collector about widespread bogus voting on the day of polls.