Compying with an ECI directive, candidates are publishing records of their criminal cases in party mouthpiece “Janmabhoomi
The BJP’s Kerala Lok Sabha candidates are using the party’s mouthpiece in the state to comply with the Supreme Court judgment that all those in the fray publicise criminal cases registered against them in a newspaper with wide circulation for three days.
The BJP candidates, most of them booked for participating in the Sabarimala agitation, have filed the cases they face in “Janmabhoomi”, said a newspaper official, who did not wish to be identified.
“K Surendran (contesting from Kasaragod) has the maximum number of cases (240), of which 90% are related to the Sabarimala temple protest. Cases have been filed at Parasala police station (located in the state’s southern part) and in Kasaragod (the northern most district). What’s most surprising is that on a particular day Surendran has cases registered at two different police stations, which are very far from one another,” said the official.
Among the others who have cases registered for taking part in the Sabarimala protests include Chalakudy candidate AN Radhakrishnan with over 200 criminal cases against him, and KS Radhakrishnan, a former Vice Chancellor of Sree Sankara University and former Chairman of the Public Service Commission, who is in the fray from Alappuzha.
KP Prakash Babu, who is contesting from Kozhikode, has 190 cases and was sent to jail on March 28 by a court when he appeared before it to seek bail in one of them.
Sobha Surendran, contesting from Attingal constituency, has 40 cases registered against her.
“Apart from the candidates, the political parties which field the candidates have also to file the cases and all the BJP-led NDA candidates have done it in our newspaper. Likewise, the CPI-M candidates, have filed theirs in their party organ,” added the official of Janmabhoomi.
After the apex court on September 28 last year ruled that women of all age groups should be allowed to pray at Sabarimala, striking down the temple tradition of barring girls and women in the 10-50 age bracket, the right-wing parties were up in arms over the verdict.
However, as the Pinarayi Vijayan-led Left Democratic Front government decided to abide by the apex court’s ruling, it led to numerous protests across the state by Sangh Parivar leaders and the Kerala Police registered criminal cases against them.
State Chief Electoral Officer Tikka Ram Meena had warned all candidates that if they could face action if they do not follow the guidelines, forcing all the candidates to publish cases against them.
The rules states that these should be published for three days at least two days before the polling date.
Kerala goes to the polls on April 23 to elect 20 Lok Sabha members.