Kerala Kaumudi Online
Saturday, 17 April 2021 9.06 PM IST

Don’t allow tension to build up


Voting in the state assembly elections this time was generally peaceful. All political parties and activists can be proud of the fact that the state has been able to maintain its tradition in this regard. Heartfelt gratitude to the troops who helped to maintain peace by avoiding untoward incidents and conflicts that could have turned into open confrontations. In the past, a lathi hanging outside a polling booth was enough to show the presence of the police. That is not the case today. A strong presence is required. Activists have no qualms to fight and show aggression even in the presence of the police. However, voting in Kerala is more peaceful than elsewhere. It has not changed this time either.

But clashes in various districts after the polls closed are a cause for concern. Kannur: Notorious for political assassination, Kannur has once again come to the spotlight due to the incident where a youth league activist was hacked to death at his home in Panur. Muhsin's brother Mansoor was also hacked. Their mother and a woman in the neighborhood were violently injured. A dispute erupted during the day over a voter being taken to a polling booth in a car, which led to the murder at night. League leaders allege that CPM activists were behind the incident. The process of apprehending the perpetrators without political considerations should not be delayed at all.

Violence, both large and small, has been reported in Kannur, Kasaragod, Alappuzha, Pathanamthitta and Thiruvananthapuram districts. While such incidents are common on polling day, they should not be taken lightly in the current context.
Violence must be eradicated to ensure peace. It is also a time when the impartiality and determination of the government and the police must be demonstrated. Political leaders must step forward without wasting time to prevent the conflict from escalating to a higher level and to rein in the activists. Do not try to make the situation worse by blaming each other. Victims of violence are generally poor. In Panur, a young man who had gone to sleep at night after working hard on polling day was called out and brutally beaten. The young man who was supposed to be the breadwinner of a family had to fall victim to a reckless political war. Do those who came to attack the group know the unending pain of that family?

People who clash are usually the ones who are known to one another. They do not have to give up friendship even when they have different political views. They should be ready to give up political rivalry immediately after the polls. It is essential for a healthy social life. Activists must have the wisdom and awareness not to become suicide bombers. At this juncture, the great example set by the activists of the three fronts at Kovil Mala in Idukki district during this election is a new experience. The LDF, UDF and NDA fronts set up polling booths in a single pandal. This not only saves the cost of setting up separate booths. This model also helped to maintain mutual love and friendship from beginning to end.
Meanwhile, police had to carry out lathicharge to control CPM-BJP violence in Kattayikonam in Kazhakoottom constituency.
The hours-long clashes and police intervention were sparked by CPM activists' allegations that workers in BJP booths were trying to influence voters. It was a trivial matter and the leaders should have been careful to ensure that the clash didn’t flare up.
The violence in the streets should not have spilled over to the homes of the activists. Precautions should be taken to prevent the outbreak on several levels. It is the responsibility of the minister representing the constituency to look after this.

This time too, there was a huge increase in the voting percentage compared to the previous elections. The turnout was 77.10 per cent in the last election. This time’s picture will be clearer with the final figures soon. The increased presence of women can be considered as another feature this time. The presence of women has played an important role in making the polls more festive. It is also noteworthy that there are more women than men in the electorate.

The last phase of polls in Bengal will take place only at the end of this month. After that, the counting of votes will take place on May 2. Until then, leaders and activists will be under a lot of stress with lots of calculations on election results. Patience is the only remedy for another 24 days as the exit poll is also banned.

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