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HomePoliticsRahul’s remarks won't affect Kerala Congress outreach to Sabarimala devotees, says party

Rahul’s remarks won’t affect Kerala Congress outreach to Sabarimala devotees, says party

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Congress chief Rahul Gandhi backs entry of all women into Sabarimala temple but says it is his personal opinion.

New Delhi: Congress leaders in Kerala maintain that party president Rahul Gandhi’s remarks, favouring the entry of all women into the Sabarimala temple, will have no bearing on their outreach programmes aimed at devotees in the state.

According to sources in the Congress, senior party leaders have said there will be no let-up in the yatras, rallies and public meetings that the state unit has been organising to inform ‘traditionalists and believers’ about the legal remedies that are available to contest the Supreme Court’s directions allowing all women into the temple.

“Review petitions have already been filed, including one supported by the Congress, in the Supreme Court,” said a senior Congress leader. “We are informing people that the Congress and the UDF respect traditions and rituals. Religious practices should not be tinkered with even though we believe in gender equality.”

At a rally in Indore Tuesday, Gandhi backed the entry of women of all ages into the shrine but added that it was his personal stance.

“My opinion is different from that of my party on this issue. My party there represents the feelings of the local people of Kerala,” he said.

He also said that the party’s Kerala unit is supporting the devotees as it is an emotional issue.


Also read: Rahul Gandhi’s in MP to campaign for state polls but doesn’t miss a chance to attack Modi


The remarks reflected the difference of opinion between the party’s central command and its state unit.

Former minister and senior Congress leader Anand Sharma also reiterated that while the Congress president has stated the correct position, the Kerala unit has a different viewpoint.

“Our party has always respected the verdicts of the SC but at the same time we as the Congress party do recognise our country is multi-religious, diverse and different regions of the country have different practices,” Sharma said. “It is but natural that the local Congress leadership, which is more connected with the local traditions, has a different view.”

Party plays catch up in Kerala

The apex court verdict had led to protests in Kerala as it ended a tradition that barred women, between the menstruating age of 10 and 50, from entering the hill temple.

The BJP has been backing the protesters and the Congress now seems to be making a desperate bid to catch up with the saffron party in the race for the orthodox Hindu votes in the Left-ruled state.


Also read:‘Confused’ Rahul Gandhi’s corruption gaffe on Shivraj Chouhan brings cheer to BJP


P.C. Chacko, former MP and senior Congress leader, said the Kerala Congress has so far organised three padyatras, campaigns through vehicles and public meetings across the state to reach out to people.

According to a senior party leader, the United Democratic Front (UDF) is also undertaking activities over the issue.

Another party functionary told ThePrint that public meetings are being held every day to counter the BJP. On 15 November, a massive public rally, likely to be addressed by senior Congress leader A.K. Anthony, has been planned as part of the closing ceremony of this exercise.

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