The state unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday (28th March) made it clear that the Sabarimala issue will be one of its Lok Sabha election campaigns. Party state president P.S. Sreedharan Pillai said in a statement that if the central government has powers to bring out new laws to protect the sanctity of Sabarimala temple, then the BJP will do its best to see that it happens.
“Since this is a state subject, the Centre cannot intervene. But if there is any way that the Centre can intervene, we assure the believers that we will go to any extent to see that the temple traditions and customs are protected,” Pillai said. “Each BJP candidate has the right to raise the issue of assault on Lord Ayyappa devotees in Sabarimala and the attempts to destroy their faith during the campaign in a peaceful manner,” he added.
With the candidature of K. Surendran, who emerged to be the face of Kerala BJP, post-Sabarimala protest, in Pathanamthitta, it is clear that BJP would be politicising the issue.
Kerala had witnessed widespread protests from the devotees on Sabarimala issue. BJP and rightwing fundamentalist groups made use of LDF government’s decision to implement the September 28 Supreme Court verdict allowing women of all ages to enter the Sabarimala hilltop shrine.
However, The Election Commission had warned political parties in Kerala not to use the Sabarimala temple matter as a campaign issue, after the declaration of election dates. Reacting to this, BJP state general secretary and Pathanamthitta candidate K. Surendran had said that the stand taken by the state government on Sabarimala issue would be an election issue.
He had said it would be discussed in elections, no one can interfere it and added it is illogical to say that the Sabarimala issue should not be discussed in the election.