Ahead of the October 21 bypolls to five Assembly segments in the State, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Teeka Ram Meena on Wednesday reviewed the arrangements and instructed the District Collectors and the police to strictly enforce the model code of conduct.
Interacting with the officers via videoconferencing, Mr. Meena reiterated the need to pay special attention to Manjeswaram where complaints of bogus voting had cropped up in 2016.
Manjeswaram has 101 sensitive polling booths and 16 booths that are on the Kerala-Karnataka border. Strong measures, including live webcast, stepped-up surveillance and border patrols, would be ensured to prevent election-related fraud in the constituency, Mr. Meena said.
Women officers would be specially deployed to verify voters wearing burqa or face-covering veils. As part of enforcing the code of conduct, the speeches of important political leaders would be recorded.
Manjeswaram, Ernakulam, Aroor, Konni, and Vattiyoorkavu Assembly seats are going to the polls on October 21.
Polling officials will be trained in handling the electronic voting machines (EVM) and the voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines. Wednesday’s review meeting also decided to hold public awareness campaigns in this regard in the constituencies.
State Police Chief Loknath Behera, ADGP (HQ) Manoj Abraham, IG (Intelligence) Vinod Kumar, Thiruvananthapuram City Police Commissioner Balram Kumar Upadhyay, ADGP Sheikh Darvesh Sahib, and Joint CEO Ramesh Chandran Nair attended the meeting.
Four of the Assembly seats had fallen vacant after the sitting MLAs were elected to the Lok Sabha in the 2019 general elections. A bypoll was necessitated in Manjeswaram following the death of P.B. Abdul Razak, MLA, of the IUML in October 2018.