TN BJP fields tainted astrologer in urban local body polls

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BJP has fielded a tainted astrologer, who practices sorcery and is also a money lender, in the urban local body (ULB) polls from Vilathikulam in Tamil Nadu’s Thoothukudi district.

The candidate, Sakthi Muneeswaran, an accused in a cheating case, is contesting from ward 15 of Vilathikulam town panchayat. He was arrested in September 2021 for cheating an elderly widow of a gold chain under the pretext of doing pooja to appease her dead husband’s soul.

He was later remanded in judicial custody in the cheating case for 14 days.

The ward, having 850 odd votes, is an SC reserved seat. The other candidates in the fray are AIADMK Vilathikulam town unit secretary’s wife Pandiammal, DMK’s Subburaj, and an independent candidate.

“A criminal case was registered against me on the basis of certain personal financial disputes. I am contesting from this seat for the fourth time and I am confident that I would win this time,” Shakti Muneeswaran told IANS.

He said that even after the police case local people had helped him build a small temple. Muneeswaran said, “If my reputation was bad, people would have not supported me. The local people knew that I am innocent and this time I will win as a BJP candidate”.

The astrologer said that he was planning to contest as an independent candidate but the BJP leaders offered him a seat at the last moment.

The BJP, when contacted, however said that they could not check his background due to time restraint for the nomination at the last moment.

Thoothukudi North district secretary of BJP, K. Ramamurthy while speaking to IANS said, “We didn’t get proper time to check his antecedents and on his background as there was less time to prepare the candidate list.”

It may be noted that BJP had severed its alliance with the AIADMK in a bid to expand the party’s grass-root connectivity and hence in several constituencies party had allocated seats to people who were not actually from the ideological background of the saffron camp.

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