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BJP Ker chief kicks up row, CM slams saffron party

Press Trust of India  |  Thiruvananthapuram/Sabarimala 

: unit chief P S Sreedharan courted a controversy Monday as TV channels aired a video clip in which he purportedly said the temple head consulted him before threatening the closure of the shrine if women in 10-50 age group entered it.

As his remarks at a Yuva morcha event in Kozhikode Sunday drew strong reactions from the CPI(M)-led ruling LDF and opposition Congresss, Pillai, an practicing in the High Court, said the had called him seeking a legal clarification, which he had given.

However, Head told reporters at the temple that he had only consulted senior tantri Kandararu Mohanararu on the matter.

Hitting out at the BJP, Chief said at a public meeting in Kannur that the genuine devotees of Lord Ayyappa should understand the saffron party's "game plan".

Responding to the criticism against him, said several people come to him for consultations and he as a had all the right to give them legal advice.

At the height of dramatic protests against entry of women of menstrual age into the Lord Ayyappa shrine, Tantri Kandararu Rajeevaru had on October 19 threatened to shut the sanctum sanctorum if two young women, then escorted by police, were allowed to reach the 'Sannidhanam' (temple complex).

Police later escorted back the two women, including an activist, who attempted to enter the temple after the Supreme Court allowed women of all age groups to offer prayers.

The and have opposed the CPI(M)-led LDF government's decision to implement the apex court order and not to seek a review of it as demanded by various quarters.

In the video, was purportedly heard saying that the priest had consulted him on whether closing the Ayyappa temple if women tried to enter it would amount to contempt of court.

Pillai had said he assured the tantri that there would be no contempt and thousands of believers were with him.

"issue is a golden opportunity for us," he had told the party workers, claiming that the agitation was "BJP's agenda".

During October 17-22 when the temple opened for monthly puja, the first time after the apex court verdict, devotees and right wing activists staged protests and prevented around 12 women in the 10-50 age group from entering the shrine.

for his remarks, CPI(M) said it was a serious matter and demanded a high-level probe into what he called "all conspiracies" related to and the stand taken by the BJP.

The agitation was "well planned" by BJP and the fact that the party could "influence" the priest was "serious", he said.

said Pillai's statements were an "open challenge" to society and to the Supreme Court, while Industries E P Jayarajan accused the BJP of using the tantri and other priests for creating trouble at the holy hill.

BJP was trying to turn the "secular Kerala" into a "riot zone", Surendran alleged, adding there was a conspiracy behind it and those involved should be brought to book.

of the Opposition in the state assembly and senior said the real agenda of BJP had been exposed through the video.

Pradesh Committee (KPCC) president, told reporters that the remarks of Pillai were "dangerous".

Through his words, it had been proved that BJP was trying to create an Ayodhya in Kerala using the Sabarimala issue, he alleged.

The issue surfaced on a day when the temple opened for a special puja to be performed Tuesday.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, November 05 2018. 19:55 IST