Review stand on Sabarimala in 24 hours, NDA warns Pinarayi

NDA gives Pinarayi 24 hours to change his mind on Sabarimala
BJP Kerala president Sreedharan Pillai said if the state government failed to resolve the issue at the earliest, the BJP-NDA's agitation would take a new turn. Photo: Manoj Chemancheri

Thiruvananthapuram: The five-day Save Sabarimala Yatra, which concluded on Monday, with NDA leaders offering 'namajapa' prayers in front of the Secretariat, put the Kerala government on notice.

"If the government does not change its stand on the Sabarimala issue in 24 hours, the NDA will go ahead with more intense agitation measures," BJP state president and the captain of the march P S Sreedharan Pillai said at the conclusion of the yatra that began from Pandalam on October 10. The NDA leaders will meet in Pathanamthitta on October 17 to chalk out the next course of action.

The Save Sabarimala campaign, which saw huge participation especially of the womenfolk, has been transformed into a high-wattage anti-CPM movement. The last leg of the yatra, the three-and-a-half kilometre stretch from Pattom to Secretariat, also saw the participation of over 50,000 people. The speeches of leaders in front of the Secretariat, like the ones delivered at each stop along the way from Pandalam, were a diatribe against the chief minister and the CPM. “Here is a chief minister who does not understand the mind of the devotee. He is a non-believer who believes only in the wealth of Sabarimala,” said BJP national general secretary Muralidhar Rao.

After what happened in Chengannur in May this year, where the CPM had managed to lure the Ezhava and Nair votes in large numbers, the BJP was on a mission to somehow distance the Hindu voter from the CPM. In Sabarimala, they seem have found the right issue. The Save Sabarimala Yatra was pitched as an attempt to oppose 'the CPM's secret attempt to destroy Sabarimala'.

"The CPM had been trying to destroy Sabarimala for the last 50 years," Sreedharan Pillai said. "(Former CM) Nayanar had once attempted to destroy the shrine. Before him, A K Gopalan had tried to desecrate the temple. But they have not succeeded," the BJP state chief said.

Sreedharan Pillai also made fun of the CPM's counter propaganda. “Do you know how many women attended the meeting organised by the CPM in Pandalam. They had arranged 1,000 seats but only 850 were filled,” he said.

The numbers

The BJP state president also produced some numbers to demonstrate what he termed the 'unparalleled importance of Sabarimala'.

“Last year, 22 lakh people visited Mecca. The very same year, the number of faithful who visited Rome was 44 lakh. The number of devotees to one of India's greatest temples Tirupati in 2017 was 66 lakh. But last year, 5.4 crore devotees visited Sabarimala,” he said.

At the start of the yatra in Pandalam on October 10, Sreedharan Pillai had said: “This is a mass movement to force a government to correct a big mistake it had committed. This cabinet, this citadel of atheists that the LDF government is, does not have the power to stop this juggernaut.”

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