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Political war of words over Thrissur Pooram continues in Kerala

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THRISSUR (KERALA) April 22: Kerala on Monday continued to witness heated political war of words over alleged police high-handedness in Thrissur Pooram festivities with the Congress party alleging a secret agenda to destroy the annual spectacle ahead of Lok Sabha polls.

The grand-old party alleged that there was a clear direction to the police to disrupt the Pooram festivities and that it was to facilitate BJP’s victory in this central Kerala constituency in the elections.

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Senior Congress leader and Thrissur Lok Sabha candidate K Muraleedharan also demanded a judicial probe into the developments which happened post-Pooram to find out whether the police were allegedly used for political gains to disrupt the festival.

His criticism came a day after the Pinarayi Vijayan government announced that they would transfer the Thrissur city police commissioner and the assistant commissioner after getting permission from the Election Commission.

“The transfer of police commissioner is to cheat people. His removal is temporary and he will surely be reinstated in the same position after the polls,” Muraleedharan told the media here.

He said the BJP cyber campaigners have already propagated that their candidate Suresh Gopi had intervened into the issues and resolved them.

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“The undercurrent is very clear…Would a commissioner have that much courage? So, there was a directive to disrupt the Thrissur Pooram,” the leader alleged.

He further accused the CPI (M) and the BJP of using the Pooram as a cover for the trading of votes.

“The Congress-led UDF will surely win the Thrissur constituency in the LS polls. But if the BJP comes second, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will be responsible for this,” he added.

Meanwhile, BJP leader Suresh Gopi also reacted to the issue and alleged that the traditional rituals of Thrissur Pooram had been disrupted due to police interference.

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He suspected that there was clear planning and conspiracy over the incidents that happened on Pooram night.

While thousands witnessed the high-octane Thrissur Pooram on Friday in Thrissur in full grandeur on the sprawling grounds of the famed Vadakkunnathan Temple, controversies took the sheen off the iconic temple festival due to alleged restrictions imposed by police and their reported interference in the rituals.

For the first time in the history of the festival, the display of fireworks, one of the major attractions of the event, which was scheduled in the early hours, was held in broad daylight on Saturday, which turned out to be a damp squib for the festival buffs.

The alleged police interference in the Pooram festivities and the delayed display of fireworks triggered sharp political reactions in the state as opposition Congress and BJP criticised the LDF government over the issue.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Sunday directed the state police chief to investigate into the matter and submit a report within one week.

The Chief Minister’s Office said Thrissur City Police Commissioner Ankit Asokan and Assistant Commissioner K Sudersan shall be transferred immediately after taking necessary permission from the Election Commissioner.

Vijayan said a serious probe would be held into the complaints raised by temple managements and members of the public who attended the recently held Thrissur Pooram.

He also said the government and the temple managements had a cordial relationship and they had even requested him to attend the Pooram festivities on Friday but he could not attend due to election campaigning schedules. (PTI)






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