Modi, while addressing a rally in Kozhikode on Friday, did not mention Sabarimala, but his speech had strong references to the issue, which had emerged as one of the key topics being discussed in the electioneering.
Kerala had witnessed protests over the entry of women at the Sabarimala temple in the wake of a Supreme Court order lifting age restrictions at the shrine. The issue had brought Sangh Parivar outfits and a large chunk of devotees to one side and the Left government on the other.
The Sabarimala action committee, an umbrella outfit of Hindu organisations protesting against the entry of women at the temple, on Saturday organised a recital of Ayyappa keerthanam in front of the state secretariat. The committee is planning a final round of action before the state votes on April 23.
Action committee convener and VHP leader S J R Kumar said the police have registered over 1,000 cases against the committee leaders in connection with the violence reported after two women entered the shrine on January 2. “Pinarayi (Chief Minister) is trying to suppress the devotees again by fabricating cases against them. We have been distributing pamphlets in houses regarding Sabarimala issue without any reference to election. But police have been illegally seizing such materials. We will intensify our campaign in the coming days,” he said.
Swami Chidananda Puri, who addressed the protest in front of the secretariat, said the Sabarimala issue would be kept alive by the committee, which is not bound to follow the directive of the Election Commission.