Congress lodges complaint against Pinarayi’s ‘Ayyappa and other gods' comment

CPM starts door-to-door visits as campaign enters last lap
Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan greets party supporters during an election campaign ahead of Kerala Assembly Polls, in Thiruvananthapuram, March 26, 2021. PTI

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s polling-day statement that 'Lord Ayyappa and all other gods are with the government' amounted to serious violation of the code of conduct, the Congress said in a complaint to the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) on Thursday.

Pinarayi made the statement on April 6 in response to Nair Service Society general secretary G Sukumaran Nair’s observation that the devotees were still against the government over its stand in the Sabarimala issue.

Speaking to reporters after casting his vote, Nair also said people were wishing a change in regime.

Responding to the NSS leader’s statement, the CM said (Lord) Ayyappa and other gods were “with this government because it has protected all the people. The gods have always remained with those who do well for the people.” He was speaking to journalists after casting his vote in Pinarayi.

In his complaint to CEO Teeka Ram Meena, Kannur District Congress Committee president Satheesan Pacheni said the chief minister’s statement was in violation of the third paragraph, part one of the code of conduct, which barred requests or references that would appeal to religious or caste sentiments for electoral benefits.

Pacheni is UDF's candidate for the Kannur constituency.

A video clipping of the chief minister’s statement was also forwarded to the CEO.

Incidentally, CPM was the first to lodge a complaint after leaders invoked the Sabarimala issue on polling day. Minister for Law A K Balan lodged the complaint with the CEO against Nair and Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala.

The opposition leader had said that Vijayan would invite the wrath of Lord Ayyappa and urged the devotees to vote against the atheist chief minister.

Pacheni’s complaint has made it clear that the ripples of the Sabarimala issue would last long past the polling day. The CEO’s stand on the complaints is not immediately known.

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