KASARAGOD: On election day, top leaders of all the three major fronts harped on Sabarimala in an attempt to influence the public one final time.
BJP state president K Surendran called the Chief Minister a demon who used government machinery to take young women to Sabarimala.
He was responding to the Chief Minister's statement in Kannur that Ayyappa and all other deities of the land are with the LDF government which protected the interests of people belonging to all religions.
The CM was reacting to a statement made by Nair Service Society's general secretary G Sukumaran Nair that protests by Sabarimala devotees still persisted.
Veteran Congress leader A K Antony said the Chief Minister should apologise to Sabarimala devotees.
Thiruvananthapuram MP and Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said the Chief Minister should have remembered Lord Ayyappa when women were sent to the sanctum sanctorum of Sabarimala.
Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said the Chief Minister would face the wrath of Lord Ayyappa and also devotees.
The harshest critic was the BJP's Surendran who said the Chief Minister was the chief demon who destroyed Sabarimala with the help of his 'asura' gang. Worried that the people might remember his actions, the two-faced CM made a U-turn, he said.
Surendran said the government made all arrangements and used its machinery to take non-believers to Sabarimala under the cover of darkness. "The next day, the Chief Minister held a press conference to announce two women entered Sabarimala and challenged the devotees to call for another hartal," the BJP leader said. "Now when he says the gods are with him, no one will believe... He is a weak leader. He changed his position sensing defeat in the election," he said.
In a bid to deny any electoral advantage to the UDF, Surendran said the Congress should not shed crocodile tears over Sabarimala. When the protests were raging, Antony did not come to Kerala or issue a statement expressing solidarity with the devotees. Oommen Chandy, he said, maintained a criminal silence during the protest. "The Congress watched the game from the gallery. Only the BJP and the Sabarimala Karma Sena protested against the government," he said.
Both the Congress and the BJP used Sabarimala throughout the campaign to seek votes, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi even chanting Swamiye Sharanam Ayyappa at the Konni election rally.