Kerala

Will highlight Sabarimala issue without violating MCC, says political parties

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They hold discussions with Chief Electoral Officer

Amid the debate over whether the Sabarimala dispute could be used as an election weapon, political party leaders have said they will highlight the issue without violating the model code of conduct (MCC).

After holding discussions with Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Teeka Ram Meena on Wednesday, both the Congress and the BJP said the Sabarimala issue would be a part of their campaign. The CPI(M), represented by Anathalavattam Anandan, intended to highlight the government’s proactive role in protecting the interests of the devotees. On his part, Mr Meena told the delegates that invoking religious sentiments to solicit votes, on the other hand, would constitute a code violation.

BJP State president P.S. Sreedharan Pillai said his party had every right to discuss Sabarimala as a ‘live issue’ without fomenting tensions. “We have received clarification from the CEO. Of course, we cannot invoke the Sabarimala Dharmasastha to garner votes. But Sabarimala could be discussed as much as the Ayodhya issue, the assassination of Gandhi, the Triple Talaq, or the Church Act are discussed,” Mr Pillai said.

KPCC general secretary Thampanoor Ravi told reporters that the Sabarimala issue would be a part of the UDF campaign. “All issues of contemporary relevance, including the flawed policies of the State and Central governments, should be discussed in the elections. That is the stand of the UDF and the Congress. As part of it, Sabarimala should also be discussed, standing within the confines of the MCC. But we do not intend to use Sabarimala as the lone agenda for the elections,” he said.

There were no rifts within the UDF or Congress on the issue, Mr Ravi added.

CPI(M)’s Anathalavattam Anandan said it was clear that the BJP and the Congress intended to fight the LDF using Sabarimala. “We have no objection to the Sabarimala issue being raised. But religion, caste, temples and mosques should not be used as weapons for electioneering. Hindutva itself is a religious word,” he said. The LDF’s main focus would be the divisive, flawed policies of the Narendra Modi government. But the front would highlight the Pinarayi Vijayan government’s role in protecting the interests of the Sabarimala devotees, Mr Anandan said.

Leaders of CPI, Kerala Congress, RSP, IUML and BSP also were present at the meeting.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2020 8:46:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/will-highlight-sabarimala-issue-without-violating-mcc-says-political-parties/article26521998.ece

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