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Sabarimala row: Vijayan alleges Congress helping BJP’s agenda; where’s opposition unity?

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The Supreme Court’s verdict to allow all women to enter the Sabarimala temple followed by the protests and subsequent unrest in Kerala has put the Kerala government in a spot of bother. A startling fact about the entire sequence of events was spelt out by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan himself when he addressed a press conference on Tuesday morning. According to him, it is the BJP and RSS who are protesting against the top court verdict and are being helped by Congress.

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“The stand of the Congress in the centre is to implement the SC verdict and in Kerala, they are competing with the BJP to not implement the verdict. It is the BJP and RSS who are leading the protests at Sabarimala and the Congress is giving support to them. These protests are purely for political gains and have nothing to do with devotion,” Vijayan was blatant without mincing his words.

But Vijayan’s take on Congress’ role in the entire fiasco is a worrying factor for the opposition in run-up to the 2019 General Elections.

Unlike in West Bengal and other places, Kerala had adopted a different line of politics when Congress backed United Democratic Front (UDF) stayed opposed the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government. At a time when the opposition is uniting across the length and breadth of the country, not supporting the government — be it LDF or any other party — the UDF is obliquely helping the BJP in having its way in God’s own country.

It has to be analysed by the voters as how the protests turned violent without instigation despite a court verdict. Whether BJP president Amit Shah’s veiled threat to create an unrest in Kerala qualifies to be contempt is a topic for another day. But what’s happening there shows the lackadaisical attitude of the police. Kerala High Court on Tuesday observed “excessive” control by the police at Sabarimala. That 69 people were detained by police on Sunday for protesting at Sannidhanam is a testimony to what the High Court observed.

“When the gates of the Sabarimala Temple was opened on October 17 for the thulamasa pooja, several protesters had set up tents in places like Nilakkal and started protesting. The police did not take any action against this as they have the right to show their protest. But we know what happened after that. The protests became violent and several journalists, especially women journalists, who had come to do their duty were attacked. That was when the police interfered,” Vijayan said at the press conference.

ALSO READ: Sabarimala row: BJP, Congress walk out of all-party meeting called by Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan

Though the CM tried to hush up the role of the cops, but he had little understanding of the fallout. Being the custodian of the state, police should have worked in tandem with the legislature and bureaucracy. Crying a foul by the Chief Minister doesn’t show him in good light, as far as administration is concerned.

Saying it a ‘Sangh agenda’ the CM backed the police too. “If someone is creating trouble Police has to take action. Police have been doing their job patiently,” he stated. “BJP believes that they will benefit out of this situation. Everyone is seeing what they are doing to the genuine devotees,” the Kerala CM pointed fingers towards the BJP.

It may be recalled that on Monday, BJP State President, PS Sreedharan Pillai had said that their fight is not with the devotees but with the Leftists. “The protest of the BJP is not against the entry of women but against the Communist Party who are trying to destroy Sabarimala,” Pillai said.

This has evoked sharp reactions from Vijayan too, who won’t mind sitting across the table to sort the differences out. “We want to tell BJP if you have political issues with us come and talk to us. I am willing to talk to you but don’t make genuine devotees a scapegoat in this. Don’t use Sabarimala for your political benefit,” Vijayan said.

ALSO READ: Sabarimala row: Fresh protests break out; around 70 arrested

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