BJP, Congress spar over Sabarimala with eye on vote
A war of words has broken out between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress in Kerala over the Sabarimala temple, following the 28 September 2018 Supreme Court verdict.
Ever since the apex court said the Sabarimala temple should be open to women of all age groups, the three rival political fronts are caught in verbal duels.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's speech at the Vijay Sanklap rally on Friday in Kozhikode seems to have boosted the BJP's Kerala unit. The Keral BJP unit chief P.S. Sreedharan Pillai said their stand on the Sabarimala had been upheld by the party. The party's stance also reflected in the manifesto, released in Delhi, he added.
At the rally, Modi said if need be, the BJP would move the court and could bring a law to protect the tradition and culture of the Sabarimala temple. Modi also slammed the CPI-M-led government in Kerala for "unleashing police attack on people who stood up to protect the tradition and culture of the temple".
"We have stated that we would not seek votes in the name of religion and it has not been done," Pillai said here on Saturday.
Chief Electoral Officer Tikka Ram Meena had warned the political parties not to use Sabarimala issue to seek vote.
"What we plan to do with the Sabarimala issue is mentioned in our national manifesto. Had it been against the model code of conduct, the Election Commission would have indicated it. However, nothing has been said," Pillai said.
"How can the election officials here can override it. We will use the issue in our campaign," he said.
Slamming the BJP, former Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said no other party than the Congress was serious on protecting the Sabarimala temple tradition and culture.
"As Chief Minister, we had submitted to the apex court the only way out of this, is to come out with a law. The BJP, instead of trying to act, was using it to create trouble, and that's not acceptable," said Chandy.
State Congress president Mullapally Ramachandran said Modi's Friday statement on Sabarimala was nothing but a bluff. "If they were serious in protecting the traditions and culture of the temple, they had lots of time but they never did anything, but used it to create friction," said Ramachandran.
The Pinarayi Vijayan-led Kerala government has made it clear it would implement the top court's directive.
The BJP is using the issue to its advantage. A few opinion polls have predicted its victory in at least one seat. The surveys indicate in Thiruvananthapuram, Palakkad and Pathananamthitta, the BJP would give its traditional rivals a tough fight.-IANS