Thrissur Pooram disrupted to facilitate BJP's win in constituency: Congress

K Muraleedharan, Suresh Gopi. Photo: Manorama

Thrissur: The political feud in Kerala escalated on Monday, with the Congress party accusing the police of overstepping boundaries during the Thrissur Pooram festivities. They alleged a covert agenda aimed at undermining the annual event ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

The grand old party contended that the police received explicit instructions to disrupt the Pooram celebrations, purportedly to pave the way for the BJP's triumph in the central Kerala constituency. K Muraleedharan, senior Congress leader and the Lok Sabha candidate for Thrissur, further called for a judicial investigation into the events following Pooram. He sought to ascertain whether the police were manipulated for political ends to disturb the festival. Muraleedharan's critique followed the announcement by the Pinarayi Vijayan government that they would relocate the Thrissur city police commissioner and assistant commissioner, pending approval from the Election Commission.
Read More: Frame laws to conduct Thrissur Pooram, don't let police to intervene in customs: Thiruvambady Devaswom 

"The transfer of police commissioner is to cheat people. His removal is temporary and he will surely be reinstated in the same position after the polls," Muraleedharan told the media here. He said the BJP cyber campaigners have already propagated that their candidate Suresh Gopi had intervened into the issues and resolved them. "The undercurrent is very clear...Would a commissioner have that much courage? So, there was a directive to disrupt the Thrissur Pooram," the leader alleged. He further accused the CPI (M) and the BJP of using the Pooram as a cover for the trading of votes.

"The Congress-led UDF will surely win the Thrissur constituency in the LS polls. But if the BJP comes second, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will be responsible for this," he added.

Suresh Gopi alleges conspiracy
Meanwhile, BJP leader Suresh Gopi also reacted to the issue and alleged that the traditional rituals of Thrissur Pooram had been disrupted due to police interference. He suspected that there was clear planning and conspiracy over the incidents that happened on Pooram night.

While thousands witnessed the high-octane Thrissur Pooram on Friday in Thrissur in full grandeur on the sprawling grounds of the famed Vadakkunnathan Temple, controversies took the sheen off the iconic temple festival due to alleged restrictions imposed by police and their reported interference in the rituals.

For the first time in the history of the festival, the display of fireworks, one of the major attractions of the event, which was scheduled in the early hours, was held in broad daylight on Saturday, which turned out to be a damp squib for the festival buffs. The alleged police interference in the Pooram festivities and the delayed display of fireworks triggered sharp political reactions in the state as opposition Congress and BJP criticised the LDF government over the issue. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Sunday directed the state police chief to investigate into the matter and submit a report within one week.

The Chief Minister's Office said Thrissur City Police Commissioner Ankit Asokan and Assistant Commissioner K Sudersan shall be transferred immediately after taking necessary permission from the Election Commissioner. Vijayan said a serious probe would be held into the complaints raised by temple managements and members of the public who attended the recently held Thrissur Pooram. He also said the government and the temple managements had a cordial relationship and they had even requested him to attend the Pooram festivities on Friday but he could not attend due to election campaigning schedules.
(With PTI inputs.)

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