Sabarimala did not affect poll outcome, says Kerala CM

Vijayan also categorically rejected the demand of the Opposition in Kerala, the Congress as well as the BJP, for his resignation, taking moral responsibility for the defeat in 19 out of 20 seats. File photo

A day after the CPM leadership in Kerala formally admitted that Sabarimala women entry issue affected the left front's Lok Sabha poll prospects in the state, the Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan maintained that it was not the stand taken by his government but a misleading campaign against his government on the issue that affected the government's prospects in the state.

Vijayan also categorically rejected the demand of the Opposition in Kerala, the Congress as well as the BJP, for his resignation, taking moral responsibility for the defeat in 19 out of 20 seats.

"The Lok Sabha election results can't be seen as people's mandate against the state government. National issues only matter in the Lok Sabha polls. This time the people of Kerala wanted to keep BJP out of power at the centre and hence the BJP could not win any seat here,' he said.

The Kerala leadership of the CPM, after its meeting to discuss the debacle of the Left Front in Kerala, put out a statement stating that a section of devotees was misled by the right-wing forces in the state. Though the party did not use the term Sabarimala in the statement, it was an obvious reference to the Sabarimala issue. Many Left Front candidates had also stated openly that the Sabarimala issue affected Left Front's prospects in the polls.

However, Vijayan told reporters on Saturday that his government was bound to implement the Supreme Court order allowing entry of women of all ages to Sabarimala. He also said that if the Sabarimala issue influenced the voting pattern, the BJP could have gained much but the BJP candidate was pushed to the third place even in Pathanamthitta, where the Sabarimala Ayyappa temple is situated, Mr Vijayan said.

He also said that there would not be any change in his style of functioning as he had grown to this level with his style of functioning only.

Following the poor performance of the Left Front in the Kerala polls, the Congress-led United Democratic Front has called for Vijayan's resignation, even citing the example of senior Congress leader A K Antony, who resigned from the chief minister's post following the United Democratic Front's defeat in 19 seats in the 2004 Lok Sabha polls in Kerala.

Kerala Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala, Kerala PCC president Mullapally Ramachandran and BJP state president P S Sreedharan Pillai have been vocal in demanding Mr Vijayan's resignation.

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