The battle is ideological, says BJP on Sabarimala row

The battle is ideological, says BJP on Sabarimala row

Devotees arrive at Sabarimala Temple, in Pathanamthitta, on November 5, 2018. PTI

Kerala BJP president P S Sreedharan Pillai said on Friday that the ruling CPM and opposition Congress had joined hands in targeting the BJP over the Sabarimala row.

Speaking with reporters at Thalassery, in Kannur district, Pillai said his party was not challenging courts and was only fighting an “ideological battle”. A rath yatra launched by the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) to “protect” traditions of Sabarimala reached Wayanad district on Friday.

The BJP and the RSS have been leading protests against the CPM-led state government over implementation of the Supreme Court judgement which allowed entry for women of all ages to the Ayyappa Temple in Sabarimala.

Pillai is facing a case over a statement he made during a meeting with activists of his party’s youth wing, indicating his role in escalating the stand-off at the hill shrine.

“Both the parties are losing their support base to the BJP. These false cases are part of efforts to stop it,” Pillai said.

Pillai was caught in a controversy after video footage of a Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha meeting showed him saying that the Sabarimala tantri (head priest) had consulted him before announcing plans to close the temple if women aged under 50 years entered the Sannidhanam, the abode of the deity. He also termed the Sabarimala issue a “golden opportunity” for the BJP. Pillai has clarified that there was nothing secretive about his views and backing the devotees’ agitation was also a political decision.

He has approached the Kerala High Court with an appeal to quash the case. The court sought the state government’s take on the matter and will hear the case on Tuesday.

Yatra season

Miscreants pelted stones at the NDA rath yatra late on Thursday, at Kalikadavu in Kasaragod district, triggering allegations of CPM role in the incident. The yatra which started in Kasaragod on Thursday is led by Pillai and Thushar Vellappally, leader of Bharat Dharma Jana Sena, a political arm of the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana (SNDP) Yogam.

The SNDP is an influential outfit representing the OBC Ezhava community. Interestingly, the Congress has also commenced a yatra led by its senior leader K Sudhakaran, supporting the devotees’ agitation.

The CPM has questioned the motive of the BJP and the Congress in opposing the SC judgement and maintains that the parties’ stance is against movements of renaissance that have shaped Kerala.