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Amid flare-up, BJP chief Amit Shah expresses desire to visit Sabarimala temple

BJP chief Amit Shah has reportedly instructed party cadres in Kerala to organise all movements with participation of NDA partners and ensure unity of Nair Service Society and Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam, a socio-cultural body of Ezhavas.

india Updated: Oct 30, 2018 07:31 IST
Ramesh Babu
Ramesh Babu
Hindustan Times, Thiruvananthapuram
BJP,Amit Shah,Sabarimala
BJP national president Amit Shah in Kannur on Saturday.(PTI/File Photo)

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Amit Shah has expressed a desire to visit Sabarimala next month when the shrine re-opens, news agency PTI quoted an unnamed state leader of the party as saying.

The BJP, whose state president PS Sreedharan Pillai has announced a rath (chariot) yatra starting on November 8 from Kasargod to Sabarimala has come out strongly in support of people protesting the entry of women in the 10-50 age group into the temple. So far, the state government has detained around 3500 protestors.

The protestors are opposing a Supreme Court judgement that allowed women of all ages to enter the temple.

Analysts say that the BJP’s response has helped it take over the mantle of the state’s main opposition from the Congress, which has aked party workers not to resort to direct action.

BJP leaders admit party cadres are energised like never before and are confident the temple will give the party an electoral foothold in the southern state.

Sensing an opportunity Shah has reportedly instructed party cadres to organise all movements with the participation of NDA partners and ensure unity of Nair Service Society (NSS), a powerful organization of Nair community and Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam (SNDP), a socio-cultural body of backward Ezhavas.

Hindus account for 54% of the state’s population. Almost two thirds of this is made up of Ezhavas and Nairs.

The NSS and SNDP rarely share platforms.

“We see a major Hindu consolidation on Sabarimala. Anger is visible everywhere. For the first time many major communities came together to check the assault on Hindu customs and tradition. What is really heartening is that the NSS has taken a strong position on the issue,” said BJP general secretary K Surendran.

The Bharatiya Janata Party has also been trying to strengthen the state unit. Shah has inducted former ISRO chief Madhavan Nair and former president of the Travancore Dewasom Board G Raman Nair into the party.

It is also planning to expand the protests to other parts of south India. At least 60 per cent of the devotees of Sabarimala are from neighboring Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

Political analysts say it may be too early to conclude that the stir will help the BJP in the long-term.

“True, there is a Hindu consolidation. But we can’t say it will contribute to votes like north Indian states. Kerala politics is very peculiar and there is no scope for passion and waves in the state,” said political analyst K Venu.

First Published: Oct 29, 2018 23:26 IST