Thiruvananthapuram: Following the internal differences of opinion among bodies engaged in the agitation against Sabarimala women's entry, and the poor turn-out of volunteers for the strikes, some events planned as part of the strike have been called off. Even the ones that went through were marked by poor participation.
The Sabarimala action committee and the allied sang parivar organiztions had decided to blockade the secretariat on 18 Jan. This was also intended to turn the protest to one against the chief minister. Now instead of the 18 Jan blockade, the decision is to organize a gathering of Ayyappa devotees in all districts on 20 Jan.
Organizers say that as part of this the capital event is planned in Putharikkandam ground and will be attended prominent persons including Mata Amrithanantamayi. BJP is also considering ending the hunger strike in front of Secretariat on the eve of this gathering.
The earlier decision was to end the strike on 22 Jan, the day the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the review petitions on the Sabarimala verdict granting entry to women of all ages (but the hearing has since been deferred). Now the perception influencing party sources is that there is no point in prolonging the strike that long.
The large-scale arrests following the violence and clashes during state-wide hartal on 3 Jan , have dampened the spirits of the rank and file and dissuaded them from the strike path. There is also a strong sentiment that the party leadership failed to make effective intervention against the arrests. Further, the sangh parivar outfits raise the criticism that some leaders weakened the credibility of Sabarimala agitations and tried to use it for political gains.
It has also been observed that since the hartal violence, several programmes organised by outfits including Sabarimala action committee, failed to attract sufficient participation. And that included the hunger strike of BJP.