[India], Mar 11 (ANI): Kerala Chief Election Commissioner on Monday warned political parties against invoking the Sabarimala issue during Lok Sabha election as it would amount to a violation of the Election Commission's model code of conduct.
“Citing/invoking or doing some sort of religious propaganda based on Sabarimala judgement or issue by invoking the name Sabari God etc. will be a clear violation of the Model Code of Conduct and we will be taking action,” Chief Electoral Officer T R Meena said.
Meena said action will be taken against political parties, or its leaders, if they cite the Supreme Court’s judgment permitting the entry of women of all ages into the Sabarimala Temple.
"There has been a very controversial issue as far as Kerala is concerned. They have to draw a line that to what extent they have to use this,” he said.
The Model Code of Conduct (MCC) came into effect after the Election Commission announced dates on Sunday for the 17th Lok Sabha election, which will be held in seven phases beginning April 11. The final phase of voting will take place on May 19. The counting of votes will be done on May 23.
"There has been a very controversial issue as far as Kerala is concerned. They have to draw a line that to what extent they have to use this,” Meena said.
Meena further said that he will hold a meeting with political parties on Tuesday and will request them in this regard.
“Tomorrow, I will hold a meeting with political parties and request them in this regard not to unnecessarily use religious feeling and traditions. This may create tension among people. If that happens action will be taken. We will have a discussion with law and order machinery, district officials and the political parties. Let us see how to go about it,” he said speaking to reporters here.
One of the general conducts of MCC states, "There shall be no appeal to caste or communal feelings for securing votes. Mosques, churches, temples or other places of worship shall not be used as forum for election propaganda.”
Kerala has 20 Lok Sabha seats, and elections will be held in the state in a single phase on April 23.
The Sabarimala temple and surrounding areas witnessed a string of protests since October last year over the apex court's decision to quash restrictions on the entry of women between 10 and 50 into the holy shrine.
Nearly four months after the top court permitted women of all ages to enter the temple on September 28 last year, two women aged below 50 entered the Lord Ayyappa temple to offer prayers.
Violent protests broke out all across the state, while a purification process took place in the temple following the entry of these two women—Bindu Ammini and Kanaka Durga. (ANI)