Kerala court cancels Varkala assembly poll


Kochi: The Kerala High Court Tuesday suspended its earlier order cancelling the election to the Kerala assembly from Varkala constituency and gave a month to the Congress legislator to file an appeal in the Supreme Court.

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The court Tuesday morning struck down the result of the election to the Kerala assembly from the Varkala constituency last year following a petition by Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader S. Prahaladan, whose nomination papers were not found in order.

Varkala Kahar of the Congres had won the seat for the third consecutive time.

On hearing about the cancellation of the poll, Kahar filed a petition seeking suspension of the verdict and two months’ time to enable him to file an appeal before the Supreme Court.

The court, on his petition, suspended its earlier order and gave him a month’s time to move the Supreme Court.

The court ruled that Kahar can continue as a legislator and get the perks but cannot take part in the discussions or vote in the assembly.

Prahaladan had approached the court contesting rejection of his nomination by the returning officer on technical grounds.

Upholding his petition, the court struck down the result of the election from the Varkala constituency in the capital district.

The verdict appears to be a setback for the Oommen Chandy-led United Democratic Front (UDF) government, which is ruling with a slim majority of six seats. The Varkala seat has been a Congress citadel since 2001.

In the 140-member assembly, the Congress-led government has 73 seats and the opposition has 67 seats.

“This is not a verdict against me. I will approach the apex court and I am confident that I will get a favourable verdict,” Kahar said.

UDF convener P.P. Thankachan reacted to the news by saying that an appeal would be filed.

“Moreover, we do not fear a byelection. We have won two byelections since the government assumed office in May 2011,” said Thankachan.

CPI state secretary Panniyan Ravindran said the court order was bad news for the government.

“There is all round chaos in the UDF now and a byelection will be tough for the government,” he said.