Women's Wall Debates: Parties playing pragmatic politicstext_fields
Thiruvananthapuram: When the good intentions of the planned 'women's Wall' rally is increasingly being debated, political parties are busy playing politics of pragmatism, i.e. to use it as means of gaining more votaries, with all the three fronts of the state setting their eyes on the Lok Sabha elections due in May 2019.
It is not for the first time that a government is convening a meeting of community leaders, but both UDF and BJP smelled tricky politics in the move and came to the scene voicing concerns about its bona fides.
With both the Congress and BJP targeting majority community votes in the context of Sabarimala women's entry controversy, CPM also braced itself to promote its own agenda to torpedo their moves. And the government has by now almost succeeded in creating an impression that the Hindu community is not all that united under the slogan of the sensitive word 'faith'. This was achieved by getting the participation of numerous Hindu bodies for the proposed Women's Wall, where it was an all-Hindu meet, though without the mainstream bodies that oppose women's entry into Sabarimala.
By floating a theme of a women's wall under the aegis of backward and Dalit organizations, the government and LDF was able to put both the Opposition and BJP on the defensive. It is for the first time in history that a Dalit organization like KPMS (Kerala Pulaya Maha Sabha) is getting a joint responsibility in mobilising an event connected with renaissance. The CPM assessment is that this has created a pro-Left sentiment among the Dalits. On another level, SNDP which always had a grouse that it was placed behind NSS in the order of priorities of political parties, now seems to have got the gratification of having got a vanguard slot.
However, SNDP Yogam General Secretary Vellappally Natesan has been repeating even after the meeting of social organizations that they are with the devotees in that they are not interested in women's entry into Sabarimala. This is being viewed by BJP and Opposition as a fissure in the government move. It is also true that a large section of SNDP holds that there should not be any sudden departure from customs in Sabarimala. Even the government well realizes that people's mindsets cannot be easily changed without living with such schools of thought. However, even with that diversity of opinion remaining as it is, the government feels that getting SNDP on board for such a collective was a major gain.
Therefore, in order to encompass a broad spectrum of opinion, the committee to protect renaissance values has been formed with a loose organizational structure. It is on the same basis that a leader like Hindu parliament chief CP Sugathan was given a berth in the body, through which the government aims at resisting the moves of BJP and Congress. It was with the same strategy that the chief minister accused the Opposition leader of having labelled social organizations as caste bodies.