THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The state's chief electoral officer, Teeka Ram Meena, has backed Thrissur district collector T. V. Anupama serving notice on NDA candidate Suresh Gopi for appealing votes by invoking Lord Ayyappa.
He said questioning the action of the collector acting as the returning officer was also a violation of the model code of conduct (MCC) and political parties need not teach them on it.
The CEO was responding to the state BJP leadership terming it as 'utter nonsense' and questioning her impartiality and integrity.
He said the district collector had sent the notice after properly studying the issue.
“If Suresh Gopi has any grievances, he can express that in his explanation letter. Political parties need not teach collectors about the MCC. They are well-versed on it,” said Mr Meena.
Several BJP leaders, including its state chief P.S. Sreedharan Pillai, attacked Ms Anupama and refused to drop Sabarimala from their campaign.
“The act of the collector is utter nonsense, and it shows her ignorance. The collector was acting as a slave of the Pinarayi government,” BJP spokespe-rson B. Gopalakrishnan said. “I don’t think Suresh Gopi has invoked the name of Lord Ayyappa. The party will respond to the notice. There is nothing wrong in raising Sabarimala issue,” added Mr Pillai.
Ms Anupama refused to join issue with the BJP leaders, maintaining that she just did her job.
Keep yourself updated on Lok Sabha Elections 2019 with our round-the-clock coverage -- breaking news, updates, analyses et all. Happy reading.