Mus­lim League MLA dis­qual­i­fied for seek­ing votes on re­li­gious grounds

The New Indian Express - - CHENNAI -

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.

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