Kerala LS Polls- INC calls for inquiry over alleged mismanagement

The Congress party in Kerala has raised serious concerns regarding the management of the Lok Sabha polls held in the state on April 26, calling for an extensive inquiry by the ECI.
Kerala LS Polls- INC calls for inquiry over alleged mismanagement

The Congress party in Kerala has raised serious concerns regarding the management of the Lok Sabha polls held in the state on April 26, calling for an extensive inquiry by the Election Commission of India (ECI). Leader of Opposition in the Kerala Assembly, V D Satheesan, penned a letter to the ECI, alleging widespread mismanagement during the electoral process.

Satheesan pointed out significant delays observed in numerous polling booths, attributing them to what he described as "gross mismanagement." He highlighted instances where voters had to endure lengthy waits, with some reportedly standing in line for up to four-and-a-half hours under scorching temperatures. Despite their perseverance, many voters were unable to cast their ballots even after arriving at the polling stations before 6 PM.

The Congress leader lamented the apparent negligence on the part of election officials, citing instances of malfunctioning Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) contributing to the overall drop in voter turnout. He criticized the failure to extend polling hours in booths where such malfunctions occurred, describing the overall election arrangements as subpar compared to previous years.

Satheesan also raised concerns about the accuracy of the voters' list, highlighting instances of duplicate and outdated entries. He urged the ECI to conduct a thorough investigation into the alleged mismanagement of the Lok Sabha elections in Kerala.

These remarks from Satheesan came in response to statements by Chief Electoral Officer Sanjay Kaul, who had asserted the overall satisfactory conduct of the elections in the state. Kaul noted that the voting process was completed by 6 PM in 95 percent of polling booths and by 8 PM in 99 percent of booths. He attributed the extended polling duration in certain booths to higher voter turnout late in the day, necessitating additional time for verification and record-keeping.

Kaul emphasized the proactive measures taken by election officials, including the issuance of tokens to all voters present at the booths by 6 PM, ensuring their opportunity to cast their votes. However, Satheesan's assertions challenge the narrative of smooth electoral proceedings put forth by the Chief Electoral Officer.

The conclusion of the Lok Sabha elections on April 26 marked a notable decline in voter turnout compared to the previous polls in 2019. The voter turnout stood at 71.16 percent, down from 77.84 percent recorded in 2019, signaling a significant shift in electoral participation within the state.

As the political landscape continues to evolve, the contrasting perspectives on the electoral process underscore the importance of transparent and efficient management to uphold the democratic principles of fair representation and public trust in the electoral system.

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