Thiruvananthapuram: The CPM is in a quandary over the issue of allowing women of all ages to the Lord Ayyappa Temple at Sabarimala. Even as the party wants to affirm that its stands for progressive concepts like gender equality, its candidates facing the electoral test are trying hard to at least take the middle path on the sensitive issue so that the traditionalits and Hindu devotees are not angered. Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran had made such an attempt a few days ago, but the party bosses were not pleased.
CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury has repudiated Surendran's apologetic stand on the Sabarimala issue.
Yechury made it clear that the party would examine the apologetic remarks by the minister. CPI leader Annie Raja too vehemently slammed the minister, who is yet again in the electoral fray from the Kazhakootam legislative assembly constituency.
"The minister's statement that there was a lapse on their part on the Sabarimala issue will be examined by the chief minister and the state committee. They will examine as to why Kadakampally made such a statement. The chief minister has already stated that he would seek an explanation from the minister on why he tendered the apology...," Yechury stated.
Power Minister M M Mani said the apology tendered by the minister was foolishness.
"The CPM has not entrusted anyone to tender an apology on the Sabarimala issue. Who has the powers to say a lapse had occurred earlier on a matter which is pending before the Supreme Court? The CPM is not accountable for Kadakampally's apology. He made such a statement because of stupidity. What Yechury said is the party's stand," Mani said.
Mirroring Mani's remark Yechury too said it is inopportune to reflect on it as the matter is subjudice.
"There is no relevance to the question whether the affidavit submitted before the Supreme Court would be altered? Whatever has happened has happened. Now all should wait for the final verdict. There is no need for further discussions on an issue which is before the court,” the party's national secretary said.
However, CPM politburo member Brinda Karat said that the minister had only conveyed the sentiments of the believers.
"Minister Kadakampally Surendran expressed the believers' sentiments. It is the Supreme Court which has to take a decision on whether gender justice or believers' sentiments are to be considered on Sabarimala. I am an atheist. The government will go forward only by protecting the rights of the devotees and freedom of worship. I will always be in the forefront to resolve the issues of the believers. The CPM will always be closely connected with the believers," Brinda said.
A Vijayaraghavan, acting state secretary of the CPM's Kerala wing, said: "There is no confusion in the party over the Sabarimala issue. I don't want to comment on Kadakampally's apology."
Opposition on CPM stand
Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala said that the Pinarayi Government was trying to insult and agonise the Sabarimala devotees once again.
"If the LDF came back to power then it would make all efforts for the entry of young women in Sabarimala temple. Pinarayi should shed his pretensions of a Renaissance leader and apologise to the people. The people have recognised his duplicity. People want a change of government," Chennithala said.