Ayodhya invite has state Congress leaders in Kerala speaking in different voices

In contrast to KPCC chief K Sudhakaran’s stance, three of his predecessors urge party not to attend ceremony
New Ram Temple in Ayodhya. (Photo| PTI)
New Ram Temple in Ayodhya. (Photo| PTI)

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Confusion is prevailing in the state Congress over the party’s stand on its participation in the Ayodhya Ram temple inauguration. In stark contrast to the position held by KPCC president K Sudhakaran and Leader of Opposition V D Satheesan, three former KPCC chiefs have urged party leaders not to attend the ceremony. 

Both Sudhakaran and Satheesan choose to however play down the issue by either evading questions or passing the buck to the AICC. Moreover, Sudhakaran denied senior leader K Muraleedharan’s statement that the state unit has conveyed a message to the AICC against participation in the ceremony.

Former KPCC presidents Muraleedharan and V M Sudheeran have demanded that the AICC leadership stay away from the ceremony. “We have conveyed to the national leadership the general sentiments of the state unit,” Muraleedharan said.

“The position of the state unit is that Congress should not participate in the ceremony. Congress has not taken a decision yet. There is time for deliberations. The Congress will take a decision after a discussion within the party and with partners of the INDIA bloc,” he added. 

Sudheeran fears the BJP will use the ceremony to kick up communal sentiments. “The Congress should reject the invitation. Not only Congress, other secular parties should also not participate,” he said.      

Terming the Congress the single largest secular party in the country, Mullappally Ramachandran said its leaders have on all occasions taken an inclusive position as far as religion and beliefs are concerned.

“No one should take the Ayodhya issue emotionally. If anyone tries to use it for narrow political interests it will only help the Sangh parivar. Congress has always taken a strong stand in protecting pluralism,” he said.

However, speaking to reporters, Sudhakaran dismissed Muraleedharan’s statement that the state unit has conveyed its sentiments against participating in the ceremony. “You should ask Muraleedharan about what he said,” Sudhakaran said.

“The decision has to be taken by the AICC, not the KPCC. The state unit will convey its position if AICC asks,” he added.

CWC member Shashi Tharoor also placed the onus on the national leadership.

“The invitation has been sent to individuals and they have to take a decision. I am a Hindu and I do not see temples as a venue for playing politics. We as individuals have the right to visit temples. However, in the current situation, we should also consider the fact that the temple is becoming a political venue,” he said.

There is growing concern that a delayed decision will backfire on the party in the upcoming general election.

“The Congress position is being discussed in every Muslim home. Muslim organisations have also pointed to the CPM’s clarity on the issue,” a senior KPCC office-bearer told TNIE. 

Meanwhile, the state leadership, led by Satheesan and Sudhakaran, appears to have reached an agreement on playing down the issue. In an article published on the eve of the Congress anniversary, Satheesan chose not to touch on the Ayodhya issue.

On the contrary, he said Mahatma Gandhi’s ‘Ram rajya’ was a means of justice. “Gandhi did not seek Ram inside the walls of temples, but among the downtrodden,” he wrote.

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