Kerala tribal man declines BJP seat for elections, quotes Ambedkar

“Even if I’m hanged upside down, I will not betray my people,” Manikandan said on Facebook.
Manikandan, Wayanad native who declined BJP candidature
Manikandan, Wayanad native who declined BJP candidature
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A day after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s central leadership announced the list of candidates contesting for the upcoming Kerala Assembly polls, the candidate named for Mananthavady, a constituency reserved for Scheduled Tribe in Wayanad district, has declined the seat. Speaking to TNM, Manikandan C, who hails from the Paniya tribal community, said that he was declared a candidate even though he had informed the party that he is not ready to contest.

Manikandan also took to social media, paraphrasing a quote by Dr BR Ambedkar, after announcing that he will not be contesting as a BJP candidate. “Even if I’m hanged upside down, I will not betray my people,” Manikandan (Manikuttan Paniyan on Facebook) said on his Facebook post with the image of Ambedkar, which is now being widely shared online. ("I tell you I shall not deter from my pious duty, and betray the just and legitimate interests of my people even if you hang me on the nearest lamp-post in the street,” Dr Ambedkar had said.)

Speaking to TNM, Manikandan said that though he is happy that BJP considered him as a candidate, he was taken aback as he had already declined the seat. “Some district party leaders had contacted me over the phone asking me if I was interested in contesting in the election. I had clearly stated my stand saying I was not interested as of now. But when I heard my name being announced, I was taken aback. Hence I announced that I will not be contesting,” Manikandan said. BJP leaders have contacted him to hold more discussions, he added.

Manikandan, who completed his Masters in Business Administration, presently works as a teaching assistant in Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University. He is vocal and is actively involved in issues related to the tribal community in the district.

Manikandan said that he is against “many policies of Congress, CPI(M) and the BJP which stand against tribal communities.”


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