'Parties using Sabarimala issue to target govt': Pinarayi Vijayan
- Expressing confidence that the Left Democratic Front, led by CPI(M), will return to power, the CM said the opposition parties were targeting the government with an eye on elections.
Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday said that some political parties were raking up the Sabarimala temple issue to target the Left government in the state ahead of the assembly elections, a day after Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury’s statements on the issue attracted the ire of the opposition parties.
Talking to reporters in Malappuram on Thursday, the chief minister said there were no problems at the temple for last two years. “Since the election is round the corner, some people take special interest in Sabarimala. We have seen the temple witness peaceful pilgrimage in last two years. We will talk to all concerned once the Supreme Court delivers its final verdict,” he said.
During the three-month long annual pilgrimage season in 2018, the state witnessed large-scale violence and five shutdowns when the state government tried to enforce the Supreme Court verdict annulling a decades-old bar on the entry of women of child-bearing age to the Sabarimala temple.
After the protests, revision petitions were filed in the Supreme Court, which were referred to a nine-member Constitution bench. The court is yet to begin hearing on the petitions.
Expressing confidence that the Left Democratic Front, led by CPI(M), will return to power, the CM said the opposition parties were targeting the government with an eye on elections.
“As a continuation of power is sure for the Left, some parties are coming out with new theories and [are] busy raking up old issues to target the government which always surged ahead with development activities. Dragging the temple issue is part of it,” he said.
“We have made it clear that we are with believers. Once the court takes a final decision we will talk to all concerned parties,” Vijayan said.
His statements have come a day after Yechury said, “As far as the party is concerned, its position on the issue remains the same. We believe in equality. The elected government was duty-bound to implement the verdict of the highest court of the country.”
Speaking to a news channel in New Delhi, Yechury wondered why Kerala temple affairs minister Kadakampally Surendran expressed “regret” over the “incidents” at the shrine in 2018. “I don’t know in which context Surendran said this,” he said.
Many Hindu outfits, including the Nair Service Society and Sabarimala Karma Samiti, sought clarifications from the CM. “If the CM is sincere he has to withdraw the affidavit which the government submitted in the court and maintain status quo at the temple,” said Hindu Aikya Vedi leader R V Babu.
The Congress and BJP also said the CM’s latest submission was aimed at believers’ votes. “Yechuri says the government was right and now the CM says the government is with believers. It is nothing but double standard,” said opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala.
The LDF received flak from various sections after the violent protests and suffered a drubbing in 2019 Lok Sabha elections, winning just one of the 20 seats in the state.