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Kerala may seek more security personnel

Chief Electoral Officer says aim is to raise polling percentage to 90

Kerala may ask for more men from the Central security forces for the conduct of elections considering the presence and threat of Left extremists in Kozhikode, Palakkad, Wayanad, Malappuram, and Kannur districts.

During the 2014 elections, 55 companies of security forces were deployed. This time, the State requires 149 companies of Central forces, Chief Electoral Officer Teeka Ram Meena told mediapersons here on

Wednesday.

Going by the initial assessment, 905 sensitive booths have been identified and the numbers may go up. The average polling in the State during the early elections was in the range of 70% to 80%. This time, the attempt is to improve it to 90%, he said.

Mr. Meena allayed the fears of any possible tampering with the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), which, according to him, were manufactured by two major public sector companies. The EVMs are manufactured in high security environment and its movements from the factories to various centres are closely monitored, he said.

False claim

A recent claim from Malappuram regarding the irregularities in the EVM were found to be false and a case had been booked against the person who raised the false claim. No one can tamper with or manipulate the EVMs, he said.

The Commission has been scrutinising the removal of illegal and unauthorised publicity materials from the public as well as private properties. The files regarding the extension of moratorium on farm loans, announced by the State government, are yet to reach the Commission, referring to the controversy over the delayed issuance of the government order on moratorium, and the probability of people being denied its benefits, Mr. Meena said.

File scrutiny

A State-level committee scrutiny committee, headed by the Chief Secretary, will vet the files that may be send to the Commission for approval. The files regarding the moratorium has not reached the Commission so far, he said.

Mr. Meena said a complaint on picturising P. Jayarajan, the LDF candidate in Vadakara, in bad light and another one regarding the use of a book penned by Sasi Tharoor were under the consideration. A report from the police has been sought in the Vadakara case. The book in question was authored by Mr. Tharoor long back. The Election Commission will take a final call on these cases, he said.

The Commission will look into the campaigning of candidates in educational institutions such as colleges, which are government institutions. “If its a practice that has long been in force in the State, why should I stand in between and disrupt it. However, the legality of the campaign shall be examined in the light of the model code of conduct,” he said.

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