Don't make Sabarimala poll issue: Kerala CEC to parties

Don't make Sabarimala poll issue: Kerala CEC to parties

Members of Ayyappa Dharma Samrakshana Samithi (Delhi and NCR) display placards during a protest over the Sabarimala issue, at Kerala House, in New Delhi on Jan 3, 2019. (PTI File Photo)

While the Sabarimala women entry row is expected to be one major issue to be raised by political parties during the Lok Sabha election campaign in Kerala, the Election Commission has cautioned against the use of religious issues during campaigns as well as attempts to create communal consolidation.

Kerala Chief Electoral Officer Teeka Ram Meena will be pointing out this at a meeting with representatives of political parties to be held on Tuesday. The Election Commission also plans to issue specific guidelines in this regard in Kerala, especially in the backdrop of the Sabarimala issue.

“Any sorts of campaign that could trigger communal hatred, hurt religious sentiments or attempts for vote consolidation on the basis of religion and caste could amount to a violation of the model code of conduct and can attract cases,” Meena told reporters here on Tuesday.

The BJP has been pinning high hopes in a couple of constituencies in Kerala in the backdrop of the Sabarimala women entry row. The BJP-RSS, which firmly objected entry of women in the 10-50 age group to the Ayyappa shrine, expect that a Hindu consolidation took place in Kerala and it would become advantageous to the saffron party in the polls.

They are also planning to make it the highlight of the election campaign. Hence the word of caution by the Election Commission might make the BJP-RSS leaders be cautious during the campaign.