A bank employee was found campaigning for Left Democratic Front (LDF) while postal ballots were collected from voters for the ongoing assembly elections in Kerala. In the course of postal ballot voting in Kerala for absentee voters, a video featuring the bank employee distributing welfare pension to a woman whilst polling officers were at her house has gone viral and raised a storm. This video is from the Alappuzha district of Kerala. In the video, the bank employee, after handing over the pension money to the woman, tells her that her pension will increase if the LDF government came back to power.
After the controversial video went viral, the District Collector of Alappuzha, A Alexander, suspended the bank employee from his job on Wednesday as part of an investigation.
The bank employee has been identified as Subhash CS, a collection agent with the Kayamkulam Village Service Cooperative Bank. In the video, he can be seen counting and handing over the currency notes to the senior citizen woman, in full view of the polling officers, including a policeman, who’d come to the woman’s house for postal voting.
As the bank employee attempted to induce the old woman into voting for LDF in lieu of a higher pension, the family of the women intervened, saying, “Amma is not a fool.” However, there was no intervention from either the polling officers or the policeman.
After the video went viral, workers of the UDF took huge issue with it and filed a complaint to the District Collector. On Wednesday night, the collection agent was suspended due to a violation of rules.
“The action was taken based on the report filed by the Returning Officer. There was a complaint that there had been a violation of the code of procedures in place during the election,” the Alappuzha district administration said.
In view of the coronavirus pandemic, the Election Commission has arranged for voting through postal ballots for senior citizens above 80 years of age, Persons with Disabilities (PWD/Differently Abled), persons employed in essential services such as employees of state transport, railways, aviation etc and COVID-19 positive/suspects in quarantine.