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Trivandrum:

The continuance of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Teeka Ram Meena on the Sabarimala issue is making state BJP leaders intolerant. The CEO has made an order against raising the Sabarimala topic in election campaigns which ended up in BJP’s complaint against this. Congress is also upholding BJP while CPM welcomed the behest.

According to Meena, being the CEO of the state and taking the recent controversial issues into account, he is moving ahead and proceeding things on Election Commission’s protocol and election code of conduct, which is supported by CPM as well. ” The use of religious issues for polarising people on communal lines and garnering votes is a violation of the electoral norms”, says CPM.

“If anyone wants to violate the norms, let them do it. But, later when it comes before the court, elected members can even face disqualification. This happened once in K.M. Shaji’s case”, Meena replied.

But, BJP leaders responded that the CEO has no right to issue such an order. Former BJP state president Kummanam Rajashekharan told media, “Nobody can stop discussions on Sabarimala issue. It’s not religious, rather a human rights violation. It’s up to the Central Election Commission to take the decision on such issues.”

BJP state general secretary K. Surendran said the CEO’s action was unacceptable. “The Election Commission cannot order like this. It’s the privilege of political parties to decide the campaign topic. None has the right to say a particular issue should not be discussed during campaigns. Officers better focus on bogus voting issues”, said Surendran.

Meanwhile, A. Vijayaraghavan, LDF convener, said the election commission has made the right stand. “Since Supreme Court is a constitutional body and it has proclaimed a verdict nobody can question. The Election Commission has only echoed this sentiment and there is nothing wrong in it”, he said.

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