Cochin Devaswom Board president admits role in Kerala Varma college recounting row

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Cochin Devaswom Board president, M K Sudarsan. Photo: Manorama

Thrissur: The president of Cochin Devaswom Board (CDB) has broken silence over his involvement in the 'recounting' episode during a union election at the Sree Kerala Varma College (SKVC) in Thrissur two days ago.

In a written statement issued Friday afternoon, Dr MK Sudarsan, president of CDB that runs SKVC said that he suggested the principal-in-charge, Dr TR Shobha to recount the ballots late on Thursday night.

After the dramatic late-night recount, Sreekuttan S of Kerala Students' Union (KSU), who had initially secured a one-vote victory, was declared lost to Students Federation of India's (SFI) KS Anirudhan by 11 votes.

Dr Shobha later revealed that the CDB president had intervened in the process. In his defence, Sudarsan has claimed, in his press note, that he asked for the recount as “it was not legal to stop the recounting according to the Calicut University Union Election Rules”.

Sudarsan has said that he received calls from students, Devaswom officials and others informing him about the tense situation at the college. “To know further, I contacted the principal-in-charge Dr Shobha. The principal said that after one contestant got a majority of one vote to the post of chairman, the opposing candidate demanded a recount and the recount was put on hold due to a dispute.”

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KSU activists on Friday burn the effigy of R Bindu, Minister for Higher Education, alleging that she intervened in the union election at Sree Kerala Varma College to ensure SFI victory. Photo: Special arrangement

Sudarsan claims that he spoke to the Returning Officer, who told him that the principal asked for the recounting to be stopped without a written request and that it was illegal. The CDB chief further states that the counting was completed following the decision of the Returning Officer by following the rules. He has claimed there was a deliberate attempt to spread misinformation.

Meanwhile, Sudarsan has yet to respond to repeated attempts to reach him on his official mobile.

What the Calicut University Union Election Rules say
The Calicut University Union Election Rules approved by the University Syndicate in 2022, says: “The Returning Officer shall re­examine and recount the ballot papers of all or that obtained by any candidate if any candidate or his agent requested in writing; provided such requests shall be made immediately after completion of the counting.

“The Returning Officer, at his discretion, can recount the votes either once or more than once when he is not satisfied with the accuracy of any previous count, provided nothing in these rules make it obligatory on the Returning Officer to recount the same votes more than once.”

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