Pictures of ‘Ayyappa’ and ‘Sabarimala’ cannot be used for election campaign

Thursday 14 March 2019 3:29 AM UTC

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM March 14: The Chief Electoral Officer in Kerala on Wednesday told political parties that under no circumstances should votes be solicited in the name of the Sabarimala temple.

Tikka Ram Meena, who on Monday faced the BJP’s ire after he issued a statement to this effect, on Wednesday briefed the media that it had been made clear to all political parties that under no cost should the name of Lord Ayyappa be used in election campaign.

“It’s because it has a religious connotation,” said Meena.

State BJP President P.S. Sreedharan Pillai had another account of the meeting.

“Just as the Babri Masjid, Ayodhya and Gandhiji’s death have been discussed, the Sabarimala issue can be discussed. However, there must not be any flare up and votes cannot be solicited in the name of Ayyappa,” he said.

There have been protests by Hindu groups since a September 28 Supreme Court verdict that allowed women of all ages to enter the temple, including those from the hitherto banned group of 10 to 50 years. The matter is sub judice.

Aanathalavattom Anandan (CPM), Prakash Babu (CPI), Thampanoor Ravi and Neyyattinkara Sanal (Congress), P S Sreedharan Pillai and J R Padmakuram (BJP), Joy Abraham, Kottarakkara Ponnachan (Kerala Congress), Jayakumar (RSP), Sudhakaran (BSP) and Hamza (IUML) participated in the meeting.