Kerala News: With just little more than week time left till the Assembly Elections in Kerala and other states, the issue of Sabarimala Temple Entry issue resurfaces again in the politics of Kerala. In 2018, when Supreme Court issued its verdict to allow women of menstruating ages to enter the Temple it became a huge political issue in Kerala.
There were voices of support as well as opposition to the verdict in Kerala and in the whole country. The ruling CPM back then and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan expressed their support to the verdict, but other Hindu groups strongly were in against the order of Supreme Court and challenged CPM politically in Kerala.
The manifested in itself in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, CPM losing certain of its seats to BJP in Kerala. The entire cadre of LDF and CPM back when verdict was out was too cautious because they knew this might end giving away supporters to BJP along with the state’s Hindu groups. CM Vijayan himself tried his best to dodge the issue.
CPM’s leader and Temple Affairs Minister Kadakampally Surendran last week said that he regretted what had happened back at Sabarimala Temple and he is saddened by that. In the upcoming Assembly elections, BJP is seen to be campaigning and betting on the single issue of Sabarimala Entry and claiming to protect the traditions of the state.
In Tripunithura Constituency of Kerala, BJP pointed out CPM’s contesting candidate M. Swaraj’s statement on Lord Ayyappa that he is not an eternal celibate. BJP Candidate at Thrissur Suresh Gopi says that this election will end the Tandava Nritya of LDF in Kerala. BJP is largely echoing the voices and concerns of frustrated Hindu groups in Kerala like the Hindu Aikya Vedhi and Sabarimala Protection Samithi.
On the other hand, the Congress led UDF is also being cautious proceeding or saying anything about the Sabarimala Temple Entry issue. While BJP has the support of Hindu groups in Kerala, Congress and UDF has the support of the well-established Nair Service Society that consists only of the upper caste Hindus of Kerala.
The NSS has also been vocal against the Sabarimala verdict by the Supreme Court. NSS General Secretary G. Sukumaran Nair challenged the ruling party to withdraw its support to the Supreme Court in the entry of women inside Sabarimala Temple. However, the CPM did not so as challenge.
Sabarimala Entry issue has been the single thing that has challenged the ruling CPM and LDF politically ever since the verdict was given. It is a real challenge to balance between ideology and vote-bank politics, for LDF. The UDF’s stand on the issue against the verdict did help them to win 19 out of 20 seats in Kerala in 2019 Lok Sabha elections.