Web posted at: 4/3/2006 1:47:8
Source ::: The Peninsula/ by John Mary
Thiruvananthapuram: A candidate facing the elections has a better chance of winning an election if he or she happens to be in jail during the poll campaign. The benefit from the voter sympathy for the jailed "victim" has sometimes helped candidates come out with huge winning margins.
The most telling case is that of former Federal Minister George Fernandes, who fought the Parliament election from jail during the repressive Emergency rule in 1979, and posted the highest poll margin.
Suddenly, this phenomenon has come to the fore in Kerala, with First Class Magistrate John Cyril here denying bail to Students Federation of India State President Sindhu Joy in five cases linked to student agitations.
Sindhu is locked in a high-profile contest with Chief Minister Oommen Chandy in the Assembly elections. Both candidates are on crutches and that has lent the campaign an extra dimension.
Sindhu who was injured in her leg in grenade blast while leading a student agitation in front of the University College here a few months back has been laid up for some time and been on walking aid ever since.
Chandy had suffered a femur fracture in a fall at Davos, Switzerland, where he had gone to attend the World Economic Forum. For some time, Chandy walked with the help of walker. Now, she uses an elbow crutch like his principal rival.
The Election Commission had directed poll officials to strike off from electoral rolls names of candidates who have arrest warrants or summonses pending against them.
Once the names are off the rolls, candidates would render themselves ineligible to contest in the elections.
Reacting to the bail denial, Chandy sent a direction to the prosecution not to oppose bail pleas in political cases. This might help the jailed student leader to be set off on bail sooner.
Raw deal to Madhany
The District judge had rejected her petition for anticipatory bail. However, First Class judicial magistrate John Cyril denied bail in five cases while granting it in four cases. Cases include stoning, arson and attempted murder.
Jailed Muslim cleric Abdul Nasser Madhany, who completed eight years facing custodial trial in what has come to be known as the Coimbatore bomb blast case, has been an unwitting victim of competitive politics in Kerala.
It was the previous Left Government that arrested him allegedly for inflaming passions by his vitriolic speeches and later handed him over to the Tamil Nadu police in connection with the Coimbatore case.
The Congress-led coalition promised to bail him out on the eve of the Assembly elections in 2001. But nothing came of it during the past five years. Chief minister took up his case with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalita and got the Assembly to pass a resolution against the denial of human rights to the detainee.
And now, it’s the turn of the Left Front supposedly to come to the aid of the Madhany. Senior Marxist leader T K Hamza met him in jail and gave him the necessary assurance, in turn getting his PDP’s support in the Assembly elections. And the irony is that Madhany gave the assurance on the day he completed eight years in detention.