KASARGOD: The leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said the party will strike it big in Kerala with statewide Sabarimala Protection Rath Yatra that was flagged off from the grounds of Sree Madanantheswara Sidhivinayaka Temple in Madhur on Thursday.
Speaking at the inauguration of the Rath Yatra, the party’s sole MLA O Rajagopal said Kerala was ready for a new political alignment -- believers vs atheists. “By believers, I do not mean from any particular religion. They could be Hindus, Muslims, or Christians. On the other side are the atheists. A new alignment is happening in Kerala and the beginning of that is happening from the sacred ground of Madhur,” he said.
All the leaders who spoke at the Rath Yatra -- a campaign against women entering the Sabarmala -- spoke of the binary of believers vs the atheists, led by CPM. The Rath Yatra -- led by BJP state president P S Sreedharan Pillai and Bharat Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS) president Thushar Vellappally -- was flagged off by BJP leader and former chief minister of Karnataka B S Yeddyurappa.
Introducing Yeddyurappa, BJP state general secretary K Surendran said the party invited him to inaugurate the Rath Yatra because he took the BJP from two MLAs to power in Karnataka. This Rath Yatra would help BJP to come to power in Kerala, he said. In his address, Sreedharan Pillai drew parallels between his Rath Yatra and L K Advani’s Ram Rath Yatra in 1990. “This protest has an importance. Today is L K Advani’s 91st birthday. With his Ram Rath Yatra, he catapulted a small party of two MPs to power in India. That journey to Ayodhya changed India,” he said.
Pillai said the Sabarimala Rath Yatra, being led by NDA leaders, was also “a grand ritual sacrifice” in Kerala, where the party had just one MLA. “When people start thinking and become more aware, Kerala will become conducive to the BJP. I hope all these (the Save Sabarimala Campaign) will contribute to making Kerala more conducive for the BJP,” he said. ‘Blessed by bishops and saints’ Pillai said the Rath Yatra was a peaceful campaign for believers from all religions. “I have met dozens of Christian bishops and received their blessing. I have met Hindu saints and over 100 Hindu priests and received their blessings. A few Muslim scholars and goodhearted people have also given their blessings,” he said.
“So no one is against this yatra. There is only one group which is against this yatra. And they are the non-believers and atheists. In this struggle against atheists, we are with the believers,” he said. Calling his Rath Yatra a Dharma Yudh or crusade, Pillai said the CPM had been trying to destroy the Sabarimala for the past 60 years. “Since the days of AKG (A K Gopalan), the CPM was trying to destroy the temple. E K Nayanar government’s affidavit in the high court said there was no deity in Sabarimala because the idol was destroyed in a fire. And because there was no deity, the devotees did not have any right to follow the rituals in the name of the deity,” he said.
But now the CPM workers were claiming they were also devotees. “Hypocrisy, have your name changed to Pinarayi Vijayan,” Pillai said.Citing from the CPM’s policy document, Pillai said the party had explicitly urged its cadres not to follow or organise religious rites and rituals. The document also directed the party to initiate “corrective campaigns” to bring back such workers to the party’s fold. “Now the CPM is using the Supreme Court judgement (allowing women in Sabarimala) as stick to destroy faith,” he said. But the BJP workers would shed their last drop of blood to resist that attempt, he said.
‘CPM workers joining BJP’
Pillai said Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the CPM were suffering from depression. “Last day, Raman Nair was not the only one to come (to the BJP). Many persons from the CPM joined the BJP. Pathanamthitta district’s former SFI secretary joined the BJP two days ago. Family members of senior CPM leader M M Lawrence are seeking the membership of the BJP. This is causing depression in CPM and it will liquidate the party,” he said.
Govt should end impasse: BSY
Kasargod: The BJP is not opposed to the Supreme Court verdict allowing women in Sabarimala, but people’s sentiments should be respected, said senior BJP leader and former Karnataka chief minister B S Yeddyurappa.He was speaking after flagging off the NDA’s Sabarimala Rath Yatra at Madhur on Thursday. The Rath Yatra is led by BJP state president P S Sreedharan Pillai and BDJS president Thushar Vellappally. In the name of implementing the court order, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was interfering in the affairs of tradition and rituals of Sabarimala, he said.