THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A day after a row erupted over its stand on entry of young women at the Sabarimala temple, Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) President A Padmakumar Friday said it stood with the Kerala government and denied that he had any plans to quit.
The TDB chief also dismissed reports that he had sought an explanation from Devaswom Commissioner N Vasu for reversing the board's stand over the September 28 Supreme Court verdict, allowing women of all ages into the Ayyappa shrine.
Padmakumar said the TDB stands by the government which protects Sabarimala, other temples and the Board.
"It's not possible for the Devaswom Board and its employees to stand by those who urge devotees not to donate funds in temple hundies under the board, thus destroying it.
"The LDF government has allotted Rs 100 crore for the Sabarimala temple in the budget to make up for the losses during the recent floods and protests," he said speaking at a function here.
Padmakumar's response on the women's entry issue Friday is significant as he had earlier opposed the entry of women of menstruating age into the Ayyappa shrine, a stand different from that of the CPI(M)-led LDF government and other board members.
The board chief also stated that he had not asked for any explanation from the Devaswom Commissioner and had merely said that he was "waiting for the report".
Padmakumar also said he would not resign and would continue as TDB chief till the end of his tenure in November this year.
"My words (on the Devaswom Commissioner) have been misinterpreted by the media," TDB president said.
A row erupted in Kerala when in a U-turn on Wednesday, the board, which manages the Ayyappa shrine,supported the apex court's order, joining the Kerala government to oppose a batch of pleas seeking review of the Supreme Court verdict.
The temple board, in the earlier round of litigation, had opposed the PIL by the Indian Young Lawyers Association, seeking to throw open the shrine for all women.
Padmakumar Thursday said the board had actually submitted a plea,seeking extension of time to implement the September 28 verdict.
"The Devaswom Commissioner was the one who was sent to New Delhi in connection with the case. He knows the things. I have sought an explanation from him in this regard," the TDB chief had said.
Vasu, who had met CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishanan Thursday, maintained that the board had not sought any explanation from him.
Balakrishnan said in Delhi that the TDB chief had spoken to him and that the media had 'tweaked' Padmakumar's words.
Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran Friday said that there was now no relevance for TDB's plea in the apex court, seeking extension of time to implement its September 28 order.
He said the plea was filed during two month-long Sabarimala pilgrim season as there was not much basic facilities for women devotees reaching there in large numbers.
"Since the pilgrim season is over, there is no relevance for such a plea now," he told reporters in Kochi. The Minister claimed that the TDB had accepted the Supreme Court order.
"Don't forget the fact that TDB had accepted the Supreme Court verdict," he said when asked about the U-turn Wednesday by the board which manages the Ayyappa shrine when the apex court Wednesday heard pleas, seeking review of its verdict.
He said the TDB took a stand in line with the Supreme Court order during the hearing of pleas seeking review on Wednesday.