Chief Electoral Office in Kerala said that political parties, which use Sabarimala as a campaign weapon and incite religious hatred, may even face disqualification.

EC ban on talking about Sabarimala during campaign illogical BJPs Surendran
news Lok Sabha Election 2019 Tuesday, March 12, 2019 - 08:44

Hours after the Chief Electoral Officer in Kerala banned political parties from using the contentious topic of Sabarimala during election campaigns, especially by instigating religious sentiments or communal hatred among people, BJP General Secretary K Surendran has criticised the directive. Speaking at a public rally in Kottayam on Monday, Surendran said that the Election Commission’s directive to not use Sabarimala as a campaign issue is ‘illogical’.

Surendran told the media persons that the Election Commission had no right to decide which topic should be discussed during the elections and that is up to the political parties. He, however, admitted that it was against the Model Code of Conduct to speak against the Supreme Court verdict on the issue or instigate religious hatred based on the issue.

On Monday, the Chief Electoral Office in Kerala Teeka Ram Meena, while addressing a gathering in Thiruvananthapuram, said the political parties who use Sabarimala as a campaign weapon and incite religious hatred and pro- or anti-Hindu sentiments may even face disqualification.

The Chief Electoral Officer added that while the issue can be used politically, it was against the Model Code of Conduct to speak against the Supreme Court Verdict on Sabarimala or to rally people based on religious sentiments ahead of the elections.

“If a particular party is asking votes saying that we are pro-Hindu or anti-Hindu that won’t be allowed. Disqualifying the candidate who uses Sabarimala is the final decision of the Election Commission. But we will certainly take a serious view, will get a report from the police or the local authorities and if required, we will recommend the Election Commission to take appropriate action against the candidate or the political party," the CEO had told TNM.

Kerala witnessed widespread protests following the September 28 Supreme Court verdict that allowed women of all ages to enter the Sabarimala temple. While the ruling CPI(M) has been supporting the Supreme Court verdict, several opposition parties, including the Congress and BJP, have opposed the entry of women into the temple.

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