Kochi | PTI: In a setback to the BJP-NDA front ahead of the April 6 assembly polls, the Kerala High Court on Monday dismissed pleas of its three candidates challenging the rejection of their nomination papers by returning officers.

Justice N Nagaresh accepted the contention of the Election Commission that the court cannot interfere once the notification for the polls has been issued.

BJP's N Haridas and Nivedida Subramanian and its ally AIADMK's candidate, R M Dhanalakshmi had approached the court which met at a special sitting on Sunday to hear their pleas after their nominations were rejected during scrutiny on the ground that their papers were incomplete.

While Haridas and Nivedita had filed their nominations from Thalassery (Kannur) and Guruvayur (Thrissur) constituencies respectively, Dhanalakshmi was proposing to contest from Devikulam in Idukki district.

The petitions had been posted to 12 pm on Monday after the court directed the Electioncommission to file its counter affidavit.

Opposing the pleas, the EC cited the Constitutional provisions contending that since the election process had set in, the court's intervention was not warranted.

Reacting to the development, M V Jayarajan, CPI(M) Kannur district secretary, said "Vote trading between BJP and Congress will backfire".

The matter had snowballed into a controversy since March 20 when the returning officers of the three constituencies rejected the nominations as it did not contain signatures of their party state presidents in requisite forms.

The CPI(M) had alleged that with the rejection of nominations of the NDA candidates in three constituencies, it will create a situation of trading of BJP votes in favour of the Congress-led UDF in these segments.

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta