Obsequious display of love for Sreedharan kicks up a row

Social media abuzz with critics lashing out at BJP

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s high-profile candidate in Palakkad constituency E. Sreedharan has found himself in the centre of a controversy over obsequious display of love and respect by party supporters during his electioneering.

The social media turned abuzz with critics lashing out at the BJP and Mr. Sreedharan for servile acts such as prostrating at his feet and washing it, and the ‘Metroman’ justifying it.

Some voters Mr. Sreedharan approached in Palakkad prostrated before him and some others washed his feet. These excessively deferential acts have been rarely found during electioneering in the State.

Critics accused the BJP and Mr. Sreedharan of trying to revive ancient cultural values by resorting to such defunct and self-abasing displays of affection and respect. Some described washing Mr. Sreedharan’s feet and kneeling and prostration before him as a sign of servitude that the BJP was trying to propagate.

However, Mr. Sreedharan countered the allegation saying that there was nothing wrong in it and that it was part of Indian culture. He went on to the extent of saying that those who could not agree with such practices had no right to call themselves as Indian.

“There’s nothing wrong in it. It is a display of respect, and not worship. It’s Indian culture. It’s our dharma; it’s our tradition,” Mr. Sreedharan said.

He said those finding fault with such acts were looking at things with a constricted mind. “They can’t call themselves as Indian,” he said.

Meanwhile, the BJP’s social media warriors defended Mr. Sreedharan saying that it was no more servile than standing up before a sitting electoral officer while filing the nomination.

The 88-year-old Mr. Sreedharan is pitted in Palakkad against United Democratic Front (UDF)’s young incumbent Shafi Parambil and Left Democratic Front (LDF)’s C.P. Pramod.

Mr. Shafi had defeated BJP’s Shobha Surendran by 17,483 votes in the 2016 Assembly elections. In 2011, Mr. Shafi had defeated LDF’s K.K. Divakaran by 7,403 votes.

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