The chief electoral officer in Kerala has ordered a detailed inquiry into all seats after a preliminary investigation confirmed discrepancies in the voter list, NDTV reported on Monday. This came days after Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala filed a complaint with the Chief Election Commission alleging such discrepancies.
“We have asked for a detailed probe in all 140 constituencies,” said Chief Electoral Officer Teeka Ram Meena. “As per the preliminary report of district collectors, we have found that many of the entries are double entry.”
Meena said 590 double entries were found in Kottayam, where 1,600 cases were investigated. “In Thrissur all 570 cases were confirmed to be that of double entry,” he said. “In Palakkad 2,004 entries were verified and around 800 were seen as multiple entries.”
Chennithala had alleged there was a conspiracy to create fake voters to influence the result of the Assembly election in favour of the ruling front.
Meena said an officer in Kasaragod district was suspended after it was found out that he approved five cards for one person, reported PTI. The chief electoral officer said that no political motives have been seen behind the discrepancies so far.
“I am looking into this aspect... to see if there is intentional, motivated or foul play on the part of the officials to give more cards or create more entries,” he said.. “We will identify them and take action as per the law.”
Meena called these multiple entries “Demographically Similar Entries”, or DSEs, and said it was not the first such case and the same was seen in poll-bound Tamil Nadu and West Bengal. “As of January 20, Tamil Nadu had 3,71,944 DSEs and Bengal had 1,00,376,” he said. “There are similar cases in other states. Booth-wise lists are prepared with focus on those who are absent, have shifted houses or are dead.”
The chief electoral officer said that these lists, where a person’s name is in more than one location, are given to presiding officers, who then get every case physically verified by the booth-level officer. “We do this very seriously... but now that these allegations have emerged, we are taking this even more seriously,” he said.
The Kerala Assembly polls are scheduled to be held on April 6. The counting of votes will take place on May 2.