BJP flags off Sabarimala rath yatra to protect the temple's 'tradition'
The BJP in Kerala kicked off a rath yatra on Thursday from Kasaragod to “protect” the traditions of the Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala.
The main Opposition Congress is also launching a series of yatras from Kasaragod, Alapuzha, Thiruvananthapuram, Thodupuzha and Palakkad to protect the faith, fight communalism and tell people about the “politicisation” of the Sabarimala issue by the CPI(M) and saffron parties.
Speaking at the inaugural function of the Sabarimala Samrakshana Yatra, former Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa sought the immediate intervention of the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) government to end tensions at the hill shrine.
The Kerala government should “apply its mind” and show seriousness to end the impasse at Sabarimala, he said.
“We are not against the SC verdict. But sentiments of the people should be respected by one and all,” he said, holding the ruling LDF and Congress-led Opposition UDF responsible for the present impasse.
The Karnataka Opposition leader later flagged off the rath yatra being led jointly by BJP state president, P.S. Sreedharan Pillai and Bharat Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS) president Tushar Vellapally, from Madhur Siddhi Vinayaka temple here.
The rath yatra will conclude at Erumeli near Sabarimala on November 13, when the Supreme Court is to consider the review petitions against its September 28 verdict permitting women of all age groups to offer prayers at the Lord Ayyappa shrine.
Kerala Congress working president K. Sudhakaran will take out a rally from Kasaragod this evening, which will be inaugurated by senior Congress leader M.M. Hassan.
Various Congress leaders will be leading rallies from different districts in the coming days, which will all culminate at Pathanamthitta, where the Sabarimala shrine is located, on November 15.
During the yatra, the Congress will explain to people how the Sabarimala issue was “politicized” by the ruling CPI(M) and BJP, Kerala Congress president Mullapally Ramachandran said.
The BJP-RSS and various other Hindu outfits have been on the warpath against the Left government’s decision to implement the apex court verdict.
The Congress, which is the main Opposition party, has also made it clear that it stands by the devotees.
The Ayyappa temple opened on Monday for the second time in three weeks for a two-day special puja amid unprecedented security over apprehension of protests by those opposing the Supreme Court order.