HC dismisses K Babu's objection, asks him to respond to M Swaraj's petition challenging his election

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Kochi: Kerala High Court on Wednesday dismissed the objection petition filed by Tripunithura MLA K Babu against going forward with the plea filed by Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader M Swaraj challenging Babu's election in 2021 Assembly polls. Swaraj petitioned that Babu used religious symbols during his campaign and his election must be declared invalid.

The court noted that the original petition of Swaraj, who was the LDF candidate in the poll, would remain in effect. It asked Babu to file his response to the allegation of using religious symbols during the campaign.

Babu said the court decision cannot be viewed as a setback for him. Swaraj said he expected the ruling.

CPM alleged Babu of misusing the Sabarimala women entry issue in the campaign. Swaraj’s speeches were used to stir up Hindu devotees' feelings. Graffiti were drawn to exploit the belief. On election eve, posters in the name of Sabarimala Karma Samithi appeared across the constituency. Later, the Samithi disowned it. CPM alleged Congress was behind the posters.

Babu defeated Swaraj by 992 votes in the 2021 election. In 2016, Swaraj had captured the Tirpunithura from Babu, who had represented the constituency since 1991, for 4,000 votes.

Previously, the Muslim League's KM Shaji, a former MLA, was disqualified by the Kerala HC in 2018 over a similar petition. In 2010, former MP PC Thomas was disqualified from contesting elections for three years for allegedly using his religious background to woo voters.

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