Defying Kerala Chief Electoral Officer TR Meena’s mandate that raking up the Sabarimala row during poll campaigning would be considered a violation of the model code of conduct, former Mizoram governor Kummanam Rajashekaran said he would take up the issue in his campaign for the Lok Sabha elections.
“The core issue is protecting the customs of Sabarimala and talking about this will not hurt anybody’s feelings. There are several issues for election campaign and Sabarimala is also one of them,” he said.
Rajashekaran further requested the chief electoral officer to reconsider his decision, adding that lakhs of people came forward to express their dissent over the Sabarimala verdict and the “issue cannot be ignored”.
The announcement comes a day after BJP state president Sreedharan Pillai told CNN-News18 that the party has already decided to not take up Sabarimala as an issue for their election campaign. “We have already declared that we will not use Sabarimala issue for election campaign. But the people are aware of it and will decide accordingly,” he said.
“Citing/invoking or doing some sort of religious propaganda based on Sabarimala issue/judgement will be a clear violation of the model code of conduct and we will be taking action,” Meena said on Monday.
Kerala has 20 Lok Sabha seats and elections will be held in the state in a single phase on April 23. Rajashekaran will most likely be BJP’s candidate from Thiruvananthapuram, taking on Congress MP Shashi Tharoor and CPI MLA C Divakaran.
Speaking about his candidature, Rajashekaran said, “It is up to the central election committee to decide and it is not right for me to speak of candidature. I can only say I am back in active politics and am ready to take any responsibility the organisation wants me to take up.”