CEC Sunil Arora | Photo: PTI
Thiruvananthapuram: Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said that Malappuram Lok Sabha bypoll will be held along with the assembly election in Kerala. The date of assembly election in Kerala will be determined considering the dates of Easter, Vishu, Ramzan and exams and also the availability of the central police forces.
The Election Commissioner was addressing the media after the discussion to assess the preparations ahead of Kerala assembly election. A bypoll has to be conducted in Malappuram as Muslim League leader P K Kunhalikutty resigned his MP post.
Considering the COVID situation, the number of polling booths will be increased from 25,000 to 40,777. The polling hours will be increased and the time will be decided later. People aged above 80 years can cast postal vote. The COVID patients can cast vote in the final hours of polling.
All polling officers will be given COVID vaccine. The officials who violate the model code of conduct will have to face action including suspension before the code of conduct is withdrawn. Strict action will be taken to prevent influence of money and misuse of social media, he added.
Nomination and related documents can be filled via online. Only the print out need to be submitted to the returning officer. The chief secretary has been informed of the political parties’ demand that people should be allowed to add name in voters list through Akshaya centres free of cost.
According to the new list of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, Palakkad, Malappuram and Wayanad districts in Kerala have been considered as violence-prone areas. More security measures will be arranged here including central forces considering Maoist threat.
When asked about making Sabarimala issue a topic for campaigns, the Chief Election Commissioner said that the commission will intervene if the issue ended up in law and order issues.
Govt suggests election in 2nd week of April
The government recommended to the Election Commission that the assembly polls in Kerala should be held in the second week of April considering Easter, Vishu and Ramzan. Easter falls on April 4 and Vishu on 14. Ramzan fasting will commence in the same time. CBSE exams will take place in May.
Considering the suggestion of the state, election will be held after Easter and before April 14. As COVID cases keep increasing, assembly election in Kerala is less likely to be postponed, the Commission stated.