Kerala: BJP, Congress step up protest against SC’s Sabarimala order
While BJP embarked on a ‘Rath Yatra’ on Thursday, the Congress will hold rallies in at least five districts
Bengaluru: In an attempt to mount pressure on the state and galvanize their respective cadres, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress, the two major political parties agitating against the Supreme Court order admitting women in Kerala’s Sabarimala temple, launched street rallies on Thursday.
The BJP embarked on a “Rath Yathra” led by its state president Sreedharan Pillai from Kerala’s northern district Kasargod, which will wind through most districts before culminating in Pathanamthitta district, the heart of the agitations and where Sabarimala is located. The Congress will hold a series of rallies in at least five districts where it thinks the temple issue has found a resonance.
The parties expect the rallies to be a barometer of a popular sentiment against allowing women in Sabarimala. The area around the temple has seen violent protests against implementing the 28 September court order striking down the practice of banning women between the age of 10-50 in Sabarimala. However, going by day one, the parties have strategized their message on rallies targetting the state government rather than the court, perhaps to avoid contempt of court charges, according to political analyst J. Prabhash.
Inaugurating the BJP’s ‘Sabarimala Samrakshana Yatra (Save Sabarimala Rally)’, former Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa sought the immediate intervention of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government to end tensions at the hill shrine. The Kerala government should “apply its mind” and show seriousness to end the impasse at Sabarimala, he said in Kasargod’s Madhur Siddhi Vinayaka temple. Madhur is the only panchayat the party is ruling on its own in Kerala.
In a setback to the BJP, Kerala Police on Thursday booked BJP state president P. S. Sreedharan Pillai for the non-bailable offence of making a hate speech and inciting violence against the state.
After the speech, Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan had tweeted: “Evidence has surfaced that BJP leaders in the State connived to create trouble in Sabarimala. It must be noted that their State president himself was involved in the ruse. This is highly condemnable.”
Pillai was unavailable for a comment.
Press Trust of India contributed to this story.
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