BJP has reaped political benefits on Sabarimala issue: SNDP

Kottayam: The BJP has reaped political benefits from the agitation against the Kerala government's decision to implement the Supreme Court verdict on the Sabarimala women's entry issue,the SNDP Yogam,an outfit of the numerically strong Ezhava community, said here Monday.

"If you ask me who gained from the Sabarimala agitation, I think the BJP has moved forward so far on the basis of their Hindutva ideology," SNDP Yogam general secretary Vellapally Natesan told reporters here.

The statement of Natesan, considered very close to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, came amid speculations in political circles in Kerala on who would stand to benefit from the Sabarimala issue in the coming Lok Sabha polls.

The observation of the prominent Backward Community leader has also surprised political circles as the BJP itself was not ready to accept that the stir was a complete success.

The BJP, which had been spearheading the nearly two-month long stir against the government's decision to implement the Apex Court order, permitting entry of women of all ages into the Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa temple,had admitted that its fight to protect devotees' faith on the issue was "not entirely successful."

The BJP called off its 49-day relay hunger strike on the Sabarimala issue in front of the state secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday.

Speaking at the protest venue on Saturday, state BJP president P S Sreedharan Pillai had said: "There were notable achievements during certain phases of the agitation, but our fight to protect the faith was not entirely successful." Natesan, who strongly supported the CPI(M)-led government and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in organising the January 1 'wall of women' protest to protect renaissance values and ensure gender equality in the state, observed that the wall was a 'trap' and said it collapsed a day after its creation.

Media reports had earlier said that SNDP yogam was upset with the LDF government over the entry of two women of menstruating age into the Sabarimala temple on January 2, a day after organising the women's wall with its support.

Natesan's son Thushar Vellapally is the top leader of BDJS, a key partner of the BJP-led NDA in Kerala.

Asked about the women's wall, Natesan said he felt that it was 'a trap.'

"The wall was good, but it collapsed the next day", he said.

Natesan also criticised the meeting organised by the Sabarimala Karma Samiti, a right-wing platform seeking protection of faith, culture and traditions of the Sabarimala temple, at Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday, saying it was an assembly of 'Savarna sections'.

"It was not a meeting of all Hindu sections. We saw a unity of savarana (upper castes) there," Natesan, an OBC leader, said, commenting on the Ayyappa Bhakta Sangamam (meeting of Ayyappa devotees), organised by the Samiti as part of its protest against the Kerala government's decision to implement the September 28 Supreme Court verdict.

The meeting, inaugurated by spiritual Guru Mata Amrithananda Mayi, was attended by an array of spiritual and right-wing leaders at Thiruvananthapuram.

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