LDF downplays UDF plan to resolve Sabarimala row with legislation

A Vijayaraghavan

Thiruvananthapuram: Left Democratic Front (LDF) convener A Vijayaraghavan is sceptical of the opposition United Democratic Front (UDF)'s plan to bring in a legislation to protect the customs of the Sabarimala temple.

"Making a legislation that stands against the fundamental rights listed in the Constitution sounds dubious," he said at the press club in the Kerala capital on Tuesday.

The UDF would bring in a legislation when it formed the next government in the state, Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala had said after a meeting of the Front in Thiruvananthapuram a couple of days ago.

Remarking on the Left's poor showing in the Lok Sabha polls, Vijayaraghavan said, "It is not possible to say that the LDF lost due to its stand on Sabarimala row. However, the front was not able to make all faithful aware of the government's stand."

The LDF had attempted to implement the Supreme Court order that allowed women of all age groups to enter the Sabarimala temple. This reportedly was one of the reasons that led to the Left’s worst defeat, securing just one LS seat in the state.

Vijayaraghavan also said that his comments on Ramya Haridas, the UDF candidate who won from Alathur, did not affect the party fortunes in the Lok Sabha polls. “Nor did minister AK Balan make any comments hinting that my remarks had hampered Left's chances in the crucial polls,” Vijayaraghavan claimed.

He further claimed that there was no significant decline in the number of party votes. "We got around 35 per cent of the votes. There are only four lakh party workers in the state. The rest are supporters and kin of workers. All of them cannot be counted as a constant figure," he said.

The Left leader further said that communal forces tried to spread their influence in Kerala.

He also said the party would closely review the poll debacle at the CPM leadership meetings from May 30-June 1 and make the necessary amendments in its way of functioning. "People would be made aware of the government projects. The party will interact with those in the lower-rungs of the society and function with humility."

Attacking the Congress, the Left convener said Rahul Gandhi was able create a fake clout in Kerala. "But he failed to create any ripples in northern India," Vijayaraghavan said.

Sabarimala Karma Samithi on poll outcome

The Sabarimala Karma Samithi, which was in the forefront of the Sabrimala agitation last year, said that the sentiments of the faithful who were hurt by the actions of the government on this issue had reflected well in the recently concluded Lok Sabha election.

"The Lok Sabha election result is the response of devotees to the adamant nature of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan," Samithi leaders S J R Kumar and K P Sasikala said.

Lashing out at the opposition, the Samithi leaders said, "The UDF had earlier taken the stand that it was for the central government to make a legislation for protecting the faithful's rights. Now, they have taken a U-turn with an eye on the assembly polls."


Agitation to continue

Meanwhile, the Samithi has decided to carry forth its agitation. The Samithi would hold district meetings on June 4 and 5, while a prayer day would be observed on June 12 – the Sabarimala idol installation day. In the morning, pamphlets would be distributed and prayer meetings would be held in the evening.

The state meet of the Samithi would be held at Pandalam on July 4. The state-level meet would be held from 10.30 am to 1 pm, and the state executive meet would be held in the afternoon.

A statewide campaign on protecting faith would be held during August-September. A decision on the dates would be finalised on July 4.

Legal help

The core committee of the Samithi has also decided to help those who have been charged with cases in connection with the Sabarimala agitations.

Cases were charged against 300 people in connection with the January 3 hartal. They will be given legal help.

The Samithi pointed out that the government did not take any action on those who resorted to violence during the trade union strike on January 8-9. Hence, the move to file case against the Samithi workers were aimed at destroying the faith, the leaders alleged.

The Samithi would also give aid to the family of five people who lost lives during the stir.

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