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In Kerala, PM Modi fires Sabarimala, triple talaq salvo at Left govt, UDF

PM Modi’s attack on the CPI (M) is the second this month over Sabarimala. In an address to BJP workers in Kollam two weeks back, Modi said the Kerala government’s handling of the issue will go down in the history as a “shameful act”.

india Updated: Jan 27, 2019 23:53 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Modi,Modi in Kerala,Sabarimala
Raking up the Sabarimala Temple controversy, PM Modi said that the issue has caught the attention of the nation. (PTI)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday attacked Kerala’s ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPI (M) for leading “an attack” on the state’s cultural ethos. He cited the Sabarimala issue and said it has “beyond doubt” proved that communists are in a race to disrespect the state’s culture. “The Sabarimala temple issue has got the country’s attention. People are seeing the manner in which the communist government is disrespecting our culture...” he asked at a rally of Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP)’s youth wing in Kerala’s Thrissur

Sporadic violence has rocked Kerala since the Supreme Court ended a ban on women of menstruating age from entering the Sabarimala Temple in September. Protesters have since attempted to prevent women in the menstruating age from entering the temple. Two women become the first in centuries to enter the hill temple in defiance of threats from Hindu groups this month. The entry sparked protests and a day-long strike in Kerala. The BJP has backed the protests as it is trying to make inroads into Kerala, where it has little presence, ahead of the national polls due this summer. It has peaked in its western and northern strongholds, where the BJP won 71 out of 80 seats in Uttar Pradesh alone to sweep to power in 2014.

Modi’s attack on CPI (M) is the second this month over Sabarimala. In an address to BJP workers in Kollam two weeks back, Modi said the Kerala government’s handling of the issue will go down in the history as a “shameful act”.

The CPI (M) had hit back saying the state government was implementing the judgement of the Supreme Court, and Modi’s statement has “dangerous implications for the future”. “This means that any Supreme Court judgment, which does not suit the interests of the BJP and RSS will be defied and the government seeking to implement it will be attacked by them,’’ the CPI (M) said in a statement on January 16

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On Sunday, Modi said neither the Congress nor communists have any concern for women. He called their stand on the criminalisation of the practice of instant divorce among a section of Muslims a classic example of that. The Opposition has questioned the government’s efforts to criminalise a civil offence after the Supreme Court declared instant divorce unconstitutional in 2017.

Modi referred to an event in London this month, where an Indian-born man claiming to be a cyber expert sought to demonstrate how electronic voting machines can be hacked while claiming the BJP had rigged the 2014 elections by hacking them. He accused the Congress of having “zero regards” for institutions and using foreign soil to denigrate the country’s image. “Whether it is Army or the Election Commission, their attitude is same,’’ he said. “The nation was amused to see a press conference in London where the country’s democratic foundation was questioned. A senior Congress leader [Kapil Sibal] was present… at the press conference which questioned our democratic setup.”

Modi called Opposition parties bankrupt and added that is why they were teaming up to oust him.

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In Tamil Nadu’s Madurai, Modi hit out at critics of the 10% quota for the economically weaker sections and said a few in the state were creating an “atmosphere of suspicion and mistrust” for “selfish” interests. At a BJP rally, he reiterated the quota will not impact the existing reservation benefits for Dalits, Tribals and Other Backward Class. Tamil Nadu’s Opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam has opposed the quota, saying social backwardness alone should be the criterion for reservation.

(With PTI inputs)

First Published: Jan 27, 2019 18:26 IST

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