Muslim League MLA disqualified for seeking votes on religious grounds
THE Kerala High Court on Friday declared that the election of Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) candidate K M Shaji to the Azhikode Assembly constituency as void.
The ruling was made on a petition filed by LDF candidate Nikesh Kumar, who alleged Shaji circulated pamphlets urging people not to vote for a non-Muslim candidate.
IUML is part of the Congressled Opposition alliance, United Democratic Front (UDF). With Shaji’s disqualification, the UDF’s strength has come down to 46 in the 140-strong Kerala Legislative Assembly.
The court set aside the election for committing corrupt practices under Sections 123 (3) and 123 (4) of the Representation of People Act 1951. However, Justice P D Rajan rejected the plea of Nikesh Kumar to declare him elected from the constituency.
The court also disqualified Shaji from contesting in any election for a period of six years. The finding of the court regarding the corrupt practice of Shaji will be forwarded to the President for appropriate action.
The court also directed Shaji to pay `50,000 to Nikesh as litigation cost within a week.
The court will decide next Tuesday whether Shaji should be restrained from exercising his right to vote in the Assembly and receive remuneration.
THE much-talked-about Cabinet expansion is all set to take place on November 11 as Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu is learnt to have decided to give representation to Muslim Minorities and STs in the council of ministers.
Besides expansion, reliable sources say that there is possibility of changing portfolios of the some of the ministers and the all important medical and health department, which is being handled by Chandrababu Naidu, will get a new minister. Medical and health portfolio was earlier held by BJP MLA Kamineni Srinivas, but it fell vacant after the BJP pulled out of the government after the TDP snapped ties with the NDA.
According to indications from official circles, senior TDP leader and Chairman of the AP Legislative Council NMD Farooq and Kidari Sravan, son of Araku former MLA Kidari Sarveswara Rao who was gunned down by Maoists in September, are going to be inducted into the State Cabinet.
Sources said Farooq would be given Minority Welfare department, which is currently with the Chief Minister, and Sravan will be given the Tribal Welfare after taking away the responsibility from Social Welfare Minister Nakka Anand Babu.
It is learnt that the communication to this effect has been sent to Raj Bhavan in Hyderabad.