The poster showcases Tharoor as ‘Pride of Thiruvananthapuram’.
The BJP in its complaint to the CEC, said, “The very title of the book and its display on the election poster is an open declaration by the candidate that he is a Hindu. The subtle attempt is to exploit Hindu religious sentiments. It is a violation of the model code of conduct.”
Reacting to BJP’s accusation, Tharoor termed the allegation as ‘hilarious’. He said, “These are posters put up by supporters in the district Congress committee in order to get some space for graffiti before it is occupied by others. They put out a poster hailing a writer, not just one book. There were a lot of books mentioned in the poster and one was written one and a half years back. The connection between that and this complaint is hilarious.”
Tharoor also claimed that the particular poster does not seek votes. He added that since he is a candidate now, his official posters would come over them and the earlier posters will be deleted. He tried to downplay the issue by saying said that these are non-issues and no one should be wasting their time on them.
“Everyone knows which party appeals to voters on communal lines and I am not from that party. It is like a pot calling a kettle black," said Tharoor while taking potshots at BJP.
S Suresh, district president of the BJP, said “These posters have been put up after the elections were declared. This is a clear violation of the model code of conduct. The state chief electoral officer has agreed to look into this.”
Two days back, Tharoor in a similar line, tweeted a BJP poster of former governor Kummanam Rajashekaran, most likely the saffron party’s candidate from Thiruvananthapuram with a picture of Padmanabhaswamy temple in the background. “The BJP campaign has begun in Thiruvananthapuram by blithely ignoring Election Commission rules not to use places of worship in posters! This is 150 metres away from Padmanabhaswamy temple, which is shown behind their candidate. But without religious appeals what can BJP offer?” the tweet read.
The BJP campaign has begun in Thiruvananthapuram by blithely ignoring Election Commission rules not to use places of worship in posters! This is 150metres away from Padmanabhaswamy temple, which is shown behind their candidate. But without religious appeals what can BJP offer? pic.twitter.com/mMKoU0shhW— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) March 17, 2019
Rejecting Tharoor’s charge, Suresh said that the posters were put up before the model code of conduct came in place.