Election Officer shuts down Twenty20 medical shop for violating model code

Representational image
Representational image

Kochi | The District Election Officer (DEO) here on Monday directed the Twenty20 Association, linked with the Twenty20 political party run by business group Kitex, to shut down a recently opened medical shop offering substantial discounts, for violating the Model Code of Conduct (MCC).

The district collector, who is also the returning officer, pointed out that the private company, the registered association and the political party all share the same logo and the same set of executives.

The order came on a complaint filed by two residents, that the medical shop opened next to the Bhakshya Suraksha Market, run by the Kizhakkambalam Grama Panchayat ruled by the Twenty20 party, was in violation of the MCC.

"Prima facie, it is revealed that there is a violation of section 4.4.2B(i) of the manual on MCC, and there is a case here which may influence the voters in freely exercising their right to vote by inducement through gratification," the order read.

The DEO said, "It is a unique case where there is a clear nexus between a private company, a registered association and a political party all sharing the same logo and the same set of executives".

The officer directed authorities to shut down the medical store in Bhakshya Suraksha market, which started functioning on March 21, after the declaration of Model Code of Conduct, and provides discounts as high as 80 per cent for medicines.

The RO noted that the Bhakshya Suraksha Market was operated using the CSR Fund of Kitex Childrenswear limited and facilitated by Twenty20 Association.

"Twenty20 political party and Twenty20 Association have the same officer bearers. Sabu M Jacob, the president of the Twenty20 party is the president of Twenty20 Association," the order read.

It said all the three entities share the same logo.

He also directed that the video circulated by the party through Sabu M Jacob's official handle be taken down from the internet, as there was a case of inducement.

Reacting to the development, Jacob alleged that the ruling CPI(M) and Left-backed Kunnathunadu MLA P V Sreenijan were behind the closing down of the medical store.

The Twenty20 political party, promoted by Jacob's business group, has recently announced its candidates for the Lok Sabha seats -- Chalakudy and Ernakulam.

Twenty20 Kizhakkambalam is a political party formed in 2015, which rules some panchayats in Ernakulam, including Kizhakkambalam.

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