//Communal speech costs Christian MP LS seat

Communal speech costs Christian MP LS seat


Kochi: The Kerala High Court Tuesday set aside the election of former union minister P C Thomas to the Lok Sabha on grounds that he had made religious and communal appeal to voters, and declared Communist Party of India-Marxist's (CPI-M) P.M. Ismail as MP from Muvattupuzha.

The single judge bench of Justice C. Ramachandran Nair set aside the election of Thomas, then with the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), but stayed the verdict for a month's time allowing him time to go in for an appeal to the Supreme Court.

Thomas, who contested on an Indian Federal Democratic Party (IFDP) ticket, had defeated Ismail and the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) candidate Jose K. Mani.

He defeated Ismail by less than 1,000 votes and pushed Mani to the third position, creating history by winning for a record seventh time from Muvattupuzha constituency in Idukki district.

Ismail then approached the high court alleging that Thomas had raised religious passions by printing his picture along with that of Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa and violated election norms.

“I am really happy because the people’s verdict has now been upheld in the court. This actually is the real verdict and one the people wanted,” said Ismail.

Reacting to the verdict, an unhappy Thomas said he would appeal to the Supreme Court.

“I accept the verdict, which is not true. That is why it has been stayed for 30 days allowing me time to go in for appeal,” he said.

Thomas had last August merged his IFDP with the Kerala Congress-Joseph, an ally of the Left Democratic Front led by the CPI-M.

He had been ousted from the Kerala Congress-Mani of the UDF after he won the Muvattupuzha Lok Sabha seat in 1999.

Thomas was a minister of state till 2004 in the NDA government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee.