Sabarimala issue pending in SC, nothing to debate: Pinarayi Vijayan

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan

Malappuram: Seeking to put the Sabarimala issue on the back-burner in poll-bound Kerala, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday said there was nothing to be discussed or debated now as the review pleas against allowing women in 10-50 age group into the hill shrine are before the Supreme Court.

"Whenever the court pronounces the final verdict, and if it concerns the devotees in any manner, then at that time the government will hold discussion with all the sections of the society and take necessary steps", he told reporters here in response to a question.

His remarks came amid demands by the opposition Congress, BJP and others that he clarify his position in the wake of contradictory views expressed by a minister and the CPM top leadership over the issue.

Pinarayi was responding to a query on CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury rejecting state Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran's expression of regret over the incidents witnessed in the hill shrine of Lord Ayyappa in 2018.

Sabarimala and several other parts of the state were then rocked by protests against 'hasty' decision of the LDF government to implement the apex court verdict allowing women of all age groups to enter the Lord Ayyappa shrine.

The issue has come back into focus during the campaign for the April 6 assembly elections with Congress and BJP attacking the ruling front.

Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran
Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran had expressed regret over the Sabarimala incident.

"The incidents that took place in Sabarimala in 2018 was something which had pained all of us. It should never have happened. It has pained has pained me also," Surendran told television channels last week.

He had also said the the final verdict of the Supreme Court would be implemented only after consultations with believers, political parties and the general public.

Speaking to reporters in Delhi on Tuesday, Yechury had said he was not aware of the reason why Surendran expressed regret.

"The party stance on the matter remains the same. It was the apex court which pronounced the verdict allowing women of all age to enter the temple and the state government was duty-bound to implement the verdict," he had said.

Sitaram Yechury
Sitaram Yechury

Union Minister V Muraleedharan said the chief minister should respond to Yechury's stand.

Leader of the Opposition in the assembly Ramesh Chennithala of the Congress accused Pinarayi of deceiving the devotees of the state and said he should stop fooling people.

"Has he (Pinarayi) got the guts to stand by his earlier stance on Sabarimala? I challenge him. If he has got any decency, he should apologise to the people of the state saying his stand was wrong," he told reporters in Haripad, his constituency for the fourth time.

Nair Service Society general secretary Sukumaran Nair said the government and the Chief Minister have a moral responsibility to clarify their position on the Sabarimala issue.

Ramesh Chennithala
Ramesh Chennithala

Dr S S Lal, the UDF candidate from Kazhakootam, where Surendran is also contesting, wanted to know if the latter would reject the statement of Yechury.

'Only Left can assure of overall development'

Pinarayi slammed the Congress and the BJP)for their 'negative politics', and said it is only the Left that can work for the overall development of the state.

"I have realised that the people also have realised that only the Left government can assure of the overall development of the state. Hence the opposition - the Congress and the BJP - are understandably jittery and showing signs of desperation," said Pinarayi.

He said despite the state facing a series of disasters, the Left government with the unstinted support of the people was able to face all the difficulties.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan

"It's here that the government did not get the desired and expected support from the Congress or the BJP. When we were facing serious shortage of funds, despite repeated pleas to increase the borrowing powers of the state government, it was shot down by the Centre. The various probe agencies of the Centre have been trying their best to scuttle the development plans of the state and in all these, the Congress and the BJP were hand in hand," said Pinarayi.

(with inputs from PTI)

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