Cong approaches EC against Vijayan over alleged poll-code violation

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Thiruvananthapuram, Apr 8 (PTI) The Congress approached the Election Commission on Thursday, seeking action against Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan for alleged violation of the model code of conduct on the polling day.

Kannur Congress president Satheesan Pacheni complained to Chief Electoral Officer Teeka Ram Meena that Vijayan had openly claimed on Tuesday -- the day of voting -- that his government had the support of Lord Ayyappa and all other Gods.

'I would like to bring to your notice, a grave violation of the model code of conduct, done by Chief Minister, Shri Pinarayi Vijayan on the day of polls, i.e. 6th April, 2021,' Pacheni, who is also the Congress candidate from Kannur seat, said in the complaint.

He said the chief minister, while interacting with the media after casting his vote in Dharmadam, said: 'Lord Ayyappa, all Gods of this land, all worshipful Gods of all believers are all with this government'.

Pacheni also attached a pen drive containing the visuals of the media interaction.

He claimed that Part 1 (general conduct), Clause 3 of the Model Code of Conduct was violated by the chief minister, requesting the CEO to take cognisance of the incident and take necessary action.

Clause 3 of the Code says: 'There shall be no appeal to the caste or communal feelings for securing votes' On Tuesday, Law Minister A K Balan had filed a similar complaint with the commission against Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala and Nair Service Society (NSS) chief G Sukumaran Nair for 'misusing the traditions and names of Gods in an unprecedented manner' on polling day.

Balan said the NSS chief had around 7.30 am on the polling day portrayed the election as a fight between the believers and non-believers.

Chennithala had said Vijayan would face the wrath of Lord Ayyappa and believers would take revenge on the 'atheist chief minister', Balan had told the media.

Kerala had witnessed violent protests by right-wing activists after the LDF government decided to implement the 2018 Supreme Court verdict allowing women of all age groups to offer prayers at the hill shrine of Lord Ayyappa at Sabarimala, where traditionally women in the menstrual age group of 10-50 are barred from offering worship.

On Tuesday, Sukumaran Nair -- the general secretary of the NSS, an outfit of the Hindu Nair community -- had said the people of Kerala wanted a change of rule in the state.

In a veiled attack at the ruling LDF for implementing the Supreme Court verdict on Sabarimala, Nair had said the protest of Ayyappa devotees still persisted.

In response, Vijayan had said that he do not think that Nair would say anything against the state government.

'He is an Ayyappa devotee. Ayyappa and all other Gods are with this government, which has protected the interests of people belonging to all religions. The Gods are always with those who do good for people,' he had told reporters in Kannur. PTI RRT HMB