Impersonators cast votes of 18 absentees in two booths in Kasaragod's Kayyur, alleges UDF

The Congress-led front comes up with names of absentees, impersonators and the time of casting the 'bogus' votes'; returning officer rubbishes allegation.
Image for representation. (File | PTI)
Image for representation. (File | PTI)

KASARAGOD: The Congress-led UDF has come up with evidence of voter impersonation at Kayyur-Cheemeni panchayat, a bastion of the CPM, in the Trikaripur assembly constituency.

Overall, video surveillance and strict monitoring had brought down the voting percentage to 81.3% from 92% five years ago in Kayyur-Cheemeni, said UDF panchayat convenor Jayaraman A. "Yet, the UDF could not place booth agents in six booths, and in a few booths, UDF agents were threatened to silence and electoral fraud was perpetrated with the connivance of poll officials," he said.

In booths no. 36 and 37 at Alanthatta Aided Upper Primary School, Jayaraman said votes were cast for 18 persons who were absent in the panchayat on the election day on April 6.

Of them, 11 persons are working abroad and one person is with a cargo ship, said the Congress leader.
The votes of the 18 persons were cast by 12 impersonators between 2.44 pm and 5.53 pm, he said. "The first impersonator came at 12.45 pm. The UDF booth agents raised objections and the presiding officer sent him back," said Jayaraman. 

But later, the UDF booth agents were threatened to silence and the impersonators started coming in after two hours, he said. 

The electoral fraud was committed with the active support of the families of the absentee voters and also the government-appointed booth-level officer (BLO) as the impersonators came with the original ID cards and voter slip, said UDF leaders. "How can the BLO issue voter slip for a person who is not in place," asked a UDF leader.

According to the UDF, impersonators cast the votes of  Ranjith K, Shibin T V, Rakesh C P, Sunesh K, Shajesh P, Jayakumar S, Byju T V, Sreeranju C T, Kalesh K P, Sakhilesh K P and Sajith Kumar S who are abroad. The vote of Sreekanth C, the sailor, was also cast.

Impersonators also cast the votes of Lekha K and Yasodha K, who were in Goa; Sreenivasan M and Govindan M, who were at Thaliparamba temple; and Sruthi K who was in Kasaragod on election day, said Jayaraman.

He said the votes for Sakhilesh K and Sreekanth C were cast by the same person in a span of eight minutes. "The first polling officer could have easily called out the impersonator but he allowed him to cast the votes," said the UDF convenor.

The votes of Shibin TV and Srinivasan M were cast by another person at 2.50 pm and 5.49 pm, respectively, he said. The votes of Rakesh C P and Byju T V were cast by yet another person at 3.56 pm and 5.18 pm, respectively.

Another impersonator cast the votes of Sunesh K, Shajesh P, and Sreeranju C T at 4 pm, 4.48 pm, and 5.52 pm, respectively. Three of the impersonators were women, he said.

Votes of Kalesh K P and Sakhilesh K P were cast in booth no. 36 and the rest of the 16 votes were cast in booth no. 38.

The mismatch between the faces of the impersonators and the ID cards they brought was evident but the poll officers turned a blind eye to it, said Jayaraman.

"We are giving out the time so that the election officials can spot the impersonators from the surveillance footage," said Jayaraman.

He said the UDF's Kayyur-Cheemeni committee had shared the data with the candidate M P Joseph. 

No scope for complaint: Returning officer
Deputy Collector Sirosh P John, who is the returning officer of Trikaripur constituency, said it was too late to complain now. "On election day, there was no complaint of electoral fraud. In a booth, there are agents of all major parties, then there are polling officers, the presiding officer, and a micro observer. A police officer stands outside the booth. If there was any trouble, the police officer would have registered an FIR," he said. On top of it, the proceedings were monitored in real-time by the collector, he said. "Elections now are not like those held 20 years ago. It is foolproof now," he said.

When asked if there was any scope for complaint now, he said: "They can go around making allegations. But there is no point. There were so many officials in the booth. All will not turn a blind eye to election fraud," he said.

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