Lok Sabha elections 2019: Ask for a polling station at the Sabarimala shrine
KOTTAYAM: Polling booth at Sabarimala! Quite possible, opined the
Kshatriya Kshema Sabha state leadership. Now, they have approached
the state election commission seeking to set up a polling booth at
the hill shrine so that the Purappada Shanthis on duty at the
temple could exercise their voting rights.
Purappada Shanthis remain isolated from the external world till the end of their term as priests in certain temples. As per the system, the priests should remain in the temple precincts till the end of their term. For both Sabarimala and Malikappuram priests, the period is one year while there are another 12 more temples in the state where purappada shanthis serve. Their term vary from three months to six years.
According to the general secretary of the sabha Atmaja Varma Thampuran, they will move the high court if the election commission does not act favourably. He also said that these priest are not eligible for postal votes. "If they can’t be allotted polling booths, then they should be at least allowed to cast postal votes," he said.
The sabha pointed out the example of a priest of a temple deep inside the Gir sanctuary being provided a polling booth to exercise his voting rights.
"The Election Commission of India made voting arrangement for the lone voter at Banej village situated deep inside the Gir Sanctuary. The Gir-Somnath district administration set up a polling station for Mahant Bharatdas Darshandas, the priest at Baneshwar temple at Banej village," added Varma.