Balussery, Kozhikode: An Ayyappa temple exclusively for women devotees. This is the task taken up by Suresh Gopi MP, who said that the central and Kerala governments would be urged to allot the land required for the purpose at Ranni or nearby places.
If government land is not made available, support of like-minded people would be sought and the temple built.
The BJP leader made this announcement while inaugurating the Sri Sankara Centre for the Elderly set up by Sri Sankara Charitable Trust at Advaithashramam, Kolathur.
The actor-turned-Rajya Sabha MP's proposal comes amid the political slugfest between his party and the ruling CPI(M) over the implementation of a recent Supreme Court verdict lifting the ban on entry of women in 10-50 age group from offering prayers at the hill shrine of Sabarimala where Lord Ayyappa is the main deity..
Suresh Gopi's comments come days after BJP president Amit Shah declared BJP's full support to the agitation by the devotees against CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front government's decision to implement the Supreme Court order.
Police have arrested over 3,500 people till Sunday in connection with the protests that rocked the state earlier this month.
A large number of frenzied devotees staying put at the temple complex and base camps had prevented at least a dozen women of child-bearing age from entering the temple when it opened for monthly pujas between October 17 and 22.
Protests were also held in several other parts of Kerala by the devotees, who included a large number of women, seeking to protect the tradition of the shrine whose deity, Lord Ayyappa, is celibate.
Intensifying the agitation, the BJP-led NDA on Sunday announced a six-day 'Rath Yatra' from Kasaragod to Sabarimala from November 8 to save the customs and traditions of the famous temple.
Various other agitation programmes, including a fast in front of the state DGP's office Thiruvananthapuram, had also been planned.
The BJP is apparently seeing the Sabarimala issue as an opportunity to widen its support base in the southern state.
The party has so far failed to make a strong presence in the bi-polar polity in the state, dominated by the LDF and the opposition Congress-headed United Democratic Front (UDF).
In 2016 assembly polls, the BJP had scripted history by winning the Nemom seat, and garnered 14.65 per cent votes.