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Sabarimala row: Pressure mounting, Congress considers throwing hat in ring

The Congress national leadership has been supporting the Supreme Court verdict lifting age restrictions on the entry of women to the temple, but the Kerala party unit has taken a ringside position on the issue.

Written by Shaju Philip | Thiruvananthapuram | Updated: October 17, 2018 10:15:56 am
sabarimala, sabarimala temple, pinarayi vijayan, kerala temple case, supreme court temple, lord ayappa, nilakkal, nilackal, indian express, latest news Hindu devotees stop a car to check if any women of menstruating age are headed towards the Sabarimala temple, at Nilakkal Base camp in Pathanamthitta district in Kerala. (REUTERS)

With the CPM holding public meetings to drive home its stand on implementation of the Supreme Court verdict on Sabarimala, and the BJP campaigning against entry of women in the shrine, pressure is mounting on the Congress to join the political battleground.

The Congress national leadership has been supporting the Supreme Court verdict lifting age restrictions on the entry of women to the temple, but the Kerala party unit has taken a ringside position on the issue.

Congress sources said the present situation demanded that the party protest openly to counter the campaigns of the CPM and BJP. “Both parties are addressing the issue politically, and have created an impression that the Congress is not with the devotees. Congress workers are active in agitations led by upper-caste Hindu outfit Nair Service Society. Such types of participation do not go into Congress account. Our rank and file have started asking for party-sponsored agitation,’’ said a senior leader.

Sabarimala opens today: Follow LIVE updates

The ruling CPM has begun public meetings to send a message on the party stand on the apex court verdict. The BJP has led a five-day Save Sabarimala yatra, and decided to scale up its agitation. The Congress has not been as visible, though the party is the main Opposition in Kerala.

Sources said that state Congress chief Mullappally Ramachandran and Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala would soon meet party president Rahul Gandhi to apprise him of the situation in Kerala and the inevitability of an open protest. Once the high command gives the nod, the party is likely to venture into peaceful public protests.

The main thrust of the Congress campaign would be to expose the RSS “double standards” and CPM challenge to the faithful on the Sabarimala issue, the sources said. The agitation will be tailored to ensure that it is not against the Supreme Court order.

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