Making Sabarimala a political plank, the BJP plans to conduct a six-day rath yatra culminating at the temple’s base station on November 13, the day the Supreme Court will consider the review petitions against its verdict lifting restrictions on entry of women.
The yatra will be led by state BJP president P S Sreedharan Pillai and party ally Bharat Dharma Jana Sena president Thushar Vellappally, son of prominent backward Hindu Ezhava community leader Vellppally Natesan. It will be flagged off from Madhur temple in Kasaragod district on November 8 and end in Sabarimala base station Erumeli. National leaders are likely to join the yatra during its various legs.
Pillai said the yatra will see the support of not only Hindu organisations but also Christians and Muslims. “Along the route, we will visit 52 Christian institutions, including Bishops’ houses, and 12 Islamic centres to seek their blessings. The atheist government in Kerala wanted to destroy faith and the uniqueness of Sabarimala temple,” he said.
Pillai said the yatra would expose how Communist leaders like late A K Gopalan and E K Nayanar had tried to destroy the Sabarimala temple. “We are also trying to include Hindu sages in Kerala during the yatra,” he added.
BJP sources said though the yatra is being held under the banner of NDA, various Hindu organisations and community outfits have extended support to it for the cause of Sabarimala. “To maintain the tempo of the agitations, house-to-house campaign is going on across Kerala. Even women from Communist families share the concern raised by the BJP on Sabarimala issue,’’ said another BJP leader.
The ruling Left Democratic Front convener and CPI(M) central committee member A Vijayaraghavan said the yatra was meant to torpedo the law and order system in the state. “The rath yatra of L K Advani culminated in the demolition of Babri masjid and communal polarisation in India. Similarly, the BJP’s rath yatra to Sabarimala will lead to the collapse of communal harmony in Kerala. BJP president Amit Shah wanted to create communal trouble at any cost. Since the Supreme Court is slated to consider the review petitions next month, the BJP should desist from embarking on such a yatra,’’ said Vijayaraghavan.
Meanwhile, Sabarimala Action Committee, a coordination of various Hindu outfits, is considering an action plan to prevent entry of young women to the temple on November 5 and 6, when the shrine opens for two days. “We are planning to deploy women above the age of 50 at the shrine as part of the agitation. Police crackdown has not killed the enthusiasm of workers. Hundreds are waiting to join the protest,” a member of the committee said.