Amidst ongoing assembly elections in Kerala, a poster controversy has erupted in Kalpathy, Palakkad. UDF-Congress candidate Shafi Parambil’s posters became the centre of the controversy as they featured two Brahmin temple priests. The posters and large flex boards were seen all across the town, indicating that the temple priests supported Parambil. The Congress logo was also prominently visible on the poster which was seen in Kerala. Notably, Bharatiya Janata Party’s E Sreedharan is also contesting from Palakkad.
The two priests of Sree Visalakshi Samedha Viswanatha Swamy temple at Kalpathy in Palakkad have now come forward and stated that UDF’s sitting MLA Shafi Parambil used their photographs without permission. The priests said they were surprised to see the posters and flex boards featuring them across the town.
പാലക്കാട്:— Duryodhan ❁ 🇮🇳 (@duryodan_) April 5, 2021
UDF സ്ഥാനാർഥി ഫോട്ടോ ദുരുപയോഗം ചെയ്തതിനെതിരെ കൽപാത്തി ക്ഷേത്ര പൂജാരികൾ. തങ്ങളുടെ അറിവോ സമ്മതമോ കൂടാതെയാണ് പ്രചാരണത്തിന് ഷാഫി പറമ്പിൽ തങ്ങളുടെ ഫോട്ടോ ഉപയോഗിക്കുന്നത് എന്ന് കാല്പത്തി വിശ്വനാഥ സ്വാമി ക്ഷേത്രത്തിലെ പൂജാരികൾ. #KeralaElections #Kerala #palakkad pic.twitter.com/mY3KtpLuhK
While emphasizing the fact that their photographs were used without their knowledge or content, they said, “We greet all people who come to the temple. We treat the visitors equally as part of our ‘dharma’. As public servants, more so as acharyas, we are supposed to be impartial. Many friends and devotees of Kalpathy had called us over the phone and asked us if we are supporting any party. The callers also indirectly alluded to the fact that such acts were against our dharma,” the priests said.
Interestingly, Parambil was made the Kerala Youth Congress president in 2020. Before that, Parambil had openly voiced his criticism of the LDF government and even the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC).
The voting for all Kerala assembly seats is happening on April 6. The counting will take place on May 2. Congress has put all its weight behind the state of Kerala and have as good as abandoned campaigning in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Assam and Puducherry. In Kerala, the Congress party seems to believe that they have a better chance of winning. Yesterday, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Monday had appealed to the people of Kerala to vote for the United Democratic Front (UDF) alliance in the assembly elections in the state and “strengthen the Congress nationally”.
It is pertinent to note that the Congress party is also in alliance with Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) for the 2021 Kerala assembly elections. Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), which claims to be born after Indian Independence in 1948, is actually an off-shoot of Pakistan founder and Islamist Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s All India Muslim League (AIML).
The Indian Union Muslim League has been notoriously known for flaring up communal incidents in the state of Kerala. The party was found involved in the planning as well as the execution of the brutal Marad massacre in Kerala in 2003 as per the report of Justice Thomas P Joseph Commission which was set up to investigate the incident. The report had declared the massacre as “a clear communal conspiracy, with Muslim fundamentalist and terrorist organisations involved”.
Further, in 2017, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had registered a fresh First Information Report (FIR) in connection with the probe and had named Indian Union Muslim League leaders P.P. Moideen Koya and Moyeen Haji as an accused of funding, conspiring and executing the riots.
The victory of Rahul Gandhi in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency is largely attributed to the alliance of the Congress party with the IUML, who consolidated Muslim votes in favour of the Gandhi-scion.