Tuesday, October 20, 2009

By-poll scene turns bitter in Kerala

19 October 2009

Thiruvananthapuram: The campaign for the assembly byepoll in Kannur segment has turned bitter with the ruling LDF and the Congress-led UDF engaging in wranglings over irregularities in electoral rolls.

Unlike most other by-polls, the battle this time has been taken seriously by Congress and CPM with the former trying to further firm up the gains it made in the Lok Sabha polls in the area and CPM making an all out bid to regain lost ground. Adding to CPM's discomfiture, Congress has put up former CPM MP A P Abullakutty as its candidate against LDF veteran M V Jayarajan (CPM).

The verbal duel was triggered by UDF which alleged that several new names were fraudulently added to the voter list by CPM, a good chunk of which allegedly transferred from neighbouring segments. The CPM has hit back at the UDF alleging this was part of a gameplan to upset conduct of free and fair polls since the coalition feared that it would not be able to garner the votes received in the Lok Sabha polls.

Caught in the vortex of political exchanges is District Collector K V Balakrishnan in his capacity as Chief Returning officer, who had sent a report to the Chief Electoral Officer suggesting a close scrutiny of the rolls.

Senior BJP leader O Rajagopal has suggested postponement of the by-polls till the flaws in voters list were rectified. The campaigning in Ernakulam and Alappuzha, also going to the bypolls with Kannur, has remained less stormy.

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