Cochin Devaswom president intervened in college election procedures: Kerala Varma Principal

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Thrissur: The Cochin Devaswom Board president intervened in the college election procedures and suggested that the recounting be resumed after it was stopped following protests by KSU members on Wednesday at the Sree Kerala Varma College, said college principal T R Shobha.

Talking to the media on Thursday, the principal admitted there was indeed a dispute after the first round of counting. “As per the information from the vote tabulation wing, one of the candidates was leading by a single vote after the first round of counting. The SFI members then demanded recounting and the final results were announced after the recounting. I had requested the returning officer to stop the counting procedure knowing that tension prevailed during the process. That was when the Devaswom president intervened and suggested resuming the recounting. He is also the manager of our institute and I am bound to follow his directions,” Shobha added.

The principal said that the KSU members have not yet approached her demanding reelection to the post of chairperson. “Those elected have not yet taken oath officially. I was told that candidates who won in the general seats took oath in front of the returning officer. I haven’t attended the function, and I am not supposed to do so as well,” she added.

On Wednesday evening, after the first round of counting, it was widely circulated among the college students and social media that S Sreekuttan, the final-year political science student and KSU candidate for the post of college chairperson, emerged victorious by a single ballot, securing 896 votes. KSU (Kerala Students Union) activists began celebrations as this was the first time in the past 41 years that KSU was winning the chairperson post at the Kerala Varma College, traditionally an SFI bastion.

However, the situation at the campus changed drastically after SFI (Students Federation of India) activists demanded a recounting of the votes. Though KSU workers cooperated with the recounting initially, they withdrew from the process after they allegedly saw ballots in favour of Sreekuttan being counted as invalid by the returning officer.

As the results were out by 12.30 am on Thursday, SFI candidate K S Anirudhan was declared the winner by a margin of 11 votes, securing 900 votes.

Congress leaders, including Opposition leader V D Satheesan, KPCC president K Sudhakaran and KPCC vice-president V T Balram, came down heavily on SFI, the left-wing college teachers’ association members and the Devaswom president, who they allege played foul to ensure the success of the SFI candidate.

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