Actor and BJP candidate from Thrissur Lok Sabha constituency Suresh Gopi appeared to have found himself in a spot on Sunday.
District Collector, Thrissur, T.V. Anupama, has submitted a report to the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Kerala, Teeka Ram Meena, that she has found Mr. Gopi prima facie guilty of having violated the model of conduct by allegedly using religious motifs to garner votes.
‘Candidate can appeal’
Mr. Meena told The Hindu that he had received the report and it indicated that the candidate had, on the face of it, breached the poll code. Ms. Anupama has sought an explanation from Mr. Gopi. He said the candidate could appeal against the returning officer’s action, if he found it unsatisfactory, to the CEO or the Election Commission directly.
Mr. Meena took strong exception to attempts to intimidate poll officials who enforced the poll code. “It is a criminal offence, and we will ask the police to prosecute the offenders. It is not as if there is no law. There is one, and none is above it,” he said.
Mr. Gopi had found himself at the centre of a controversy after his political rivals accused the actor of having invoked the name of Sabarimala deity to garner votes at a campaign meeting in Thrissur on Friday. Ms. Anupama issued a notice to the candidate after verifying the video recording of the campaign. She has sent the evidence for forensic analysis and voice sampling. The BJP has slammed Ms. Anupama’s action as partisan.