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Home > News > India News > Article > Lok Sabha elections 2024 I have no hope from state govt or political candidates

Lok Sabha elections 2024: ‘I have no hope from state govt or political candidates’

Updated on: 24 April,2024 07:20 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Vinod Kumar Menon |

Electoral battle intensifies as Thrissur district grapples with massive code of conduct breaches

Lok Sabha elections 2024: ‘I have no hope from state govt or political candidates’

Anoop T B returned from Kuwait after the outbreak of COVID-19 like many others from his village. Pics/Atul Kamble

Over six lakh posters, banners, flex boards, decorative ribbons, etc, were removed or cross-marked with black paint for violations of the model code of conduct in the Thrissur district. Interestingly, Thrissur is witnessing a strong electoral battle among the three strong contenders —Malayalam actor cum politician Suresh Gopi of the BJP, K Muraleedharan of Congress, and CPI candidate V S Sunil Kumar.

According to officials from the district election administration, “The anti-defacement squad under the district election administration has removed candidate posters, banners, flex boards, writing on walls, decorative ribbons, etc, displayed or pasted on public or government property, including acting on complaints received from a few private property owners, for violations of the model code of conduct.”

Posters of parties crossed out for violating of the code of conduct
Posters of parties crossed out for violating of the code of conduct

When asked about the numbers, the official said, “The squad has removed a total of 6,90,521 items (cross-marked with black paint), which include 6,87,998 posters/banners/flex boards displayed on electric poles, bus stands, government properties, etc, with an additional 2,523 complaints received from private property owners for using their premises without permission.”

“The 24/7 control room monitored the cVigil mobile application of the ECI for registering online complaints by alert citizens. It received thousands of complaints pertaining to violations of the model code of conduct, and over 10,000 complaints have already been redressed,” said an election official from the district.

Upon asking if any fine was imposed, the official replied in the negative, stating that a decision on the matter would be taken by the appropriate authority, including any fines to be levied on the concerned party, after the elections on April 26.

Constituency facts

Thrissur is one of the 20 Lok Sabha constituencies in Kerala. There 13 Assembly constituencies in the Thrissur district, of which seven are in the  Thrissur constituency, and remaining six is divided equally between the Alathur and Chalakudy constituencies.

Plenty of women voters

Thrissur district has around 26,67,000 registered voters, of which 12,74,000 are male, 13,92,965 are female and 35 are transgender individuals, whereas 58,000 first-time voters are registered in the district. The Thrissur constituency consists of 14.83 lakh voters, of which 7.08 lakh are male, 7.74 lakh are women, and 20 are transgender individuals. The number of first-time voters registered is 34,000.

Polling booths

Thrissur district has 2,325 polling booths, with 48 deemed critical. The constituency comprises 1281 booths, of which 29 are critical. Regarding security arrangements, the official stated, “Additional security personnel, including state and Central police/paramilitary forces, will be deployed at critical police stations. All polling booths will have CCTV coverage, with one manned entirely by youth and fifteen by female officials and staff.”

Youths jobless

Anoop T B runs a small eatery and general store named ‘Thachuparambil’ attached to his house in Madakkathara, Thrissur district. Like many youths in his village, Anoop was earning a decent salary working in the Gulf. However, after the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent lockdown, he, like many others, returned to their villages in Kerala and has been without a job since then, says Anoop. Previously, Anoop worked as a mechanic in Kuwait, earning a monthly salary of over R30,000. Today, he struggles to earn around R4,000 to R5,000 a month and finds it difficult to run his eatery and support his family, including elderly parents.

On election

Anoop said, “I have no hope from the state government or political candidates. None of them provide help when needed the most. Moreover, the state government has stopped giving the monthly pension and has yet to clear the last five months of dues, which used to be the only source of income for hundreds of senior citizens and widows.”

cVIGIL mobile app

The cVIGIL mobile app addresses the need for swift reporting of MCC violations. Delays in reporting have allowed culprits to evade detection by election commission squads. cVIGIL enables citizens to report violations promptly. It stands for vigilant citizen, emphasising citizens’ proactive role in ensuring fair elections. With cVIGIL, citizens can report violations such as bribery and loudspeaker misuse by capturing photos or videos. The election machinery responds promptly to each case within a 100-minute timeline, ensuring swift action.

Current Issues
1. Citizens lack channels for promptly reporting live incidents, resulting in culprits escaping before action squads arrive.
2. Delayed reporting of model code of conduct (MCC) violations has allowed culprits to evade capture.
3. Lack of pictorial or video evidence hinders complaint verification, leading to wasted time for field verification units due to false or inaccurate reporting.
4. The absence of a robust response system impedes election officers' ability to quickly and accurately identify crime spots, hindering the apprehension of violators.

Benefits of the Application
1. cVIGIL is a user-friendly app enabling citizens to submit pictorial evidence of moral code of conduct violations.
2. Reported incidents are tracked and scrutinised from start to finish, enhancing accountability.
3. The immediate location verification feature acts as a deterrent for wrongdoers, facilitating their tracking.
4. These features encourage citizens to monitor electoral practices, aiding the Election Commission in conducting free and fair elections.

6 lakh
Approx no of posters, banners etc removed in Thrissur district

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