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BJP Kerala State President Sreedharan Pillai admitted that the BJP’s agitation in Kerala on the Sabarimala issue was not entirely successful.

BJP in Kerala decides to call off relay hunger strike over Sabarimala issue
news Sabarimala Sunday, January 20, 2019 - 08:51

The BJP in Kerala has announced that it will be calling off its relay hunger strike which was declared on 3 December over the Sabarimala issue. BJP Kerala State President Sreedharan Pillai admitted that the BJP’s agitation in Kerala on the Sabarimala issue was not entirely successful. The BJP had launched a hunger strike protesting against the Kerala government over the Sabarimala issue and the arrest of BJP leaders protesting against women’s entry into the temple.

Speaking at the venue of the nearly two-month-long relay hunger strike held outside the Secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram on Saturday, The New Indian Express reports that Sreedharan Pillai said, “There were notable achievements during certain phases of the agitation, but our fight to protect the faith was not entirely successful.”

He continued, “Even though we were unable to achieve 100 per cent success, we were able to garner more public support due to the blessings of Lord Ayyappa.”

His reference to the lack of success by the BJP could be a reference to how women below 50 years of age had managed to successfully enter Sabarimala temple during the Mandalam-Makaravilakku pilgrimage season, despite protests and BJP-led agitations across Kerala and an alleged organised right-wing presence in Sabarimala itself.

It could also be a reference to the BJP’s own relay hunger strike fizzling out after a few weeks after the BJP was unable to find popular politicians or known BJP names to take part in the hunger strike.

The hunger strike outside Secretariat was started by party general secretary A N Radhakrishnan and then taken up by general secretary C K Padmanabhan, and then by Shobha Surendran. However, no big or well-known names stepped forward after Shobha Surendran to carry on the strike, leaving the BJP forced to carry on the relay hunger strike with lesser-known party leaders and workers, earning ridicule from opposition party members, including CPI(M) Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan.

On 13th December, an Ayyappa bhakt named Venugopalan Nair had immolated himself at the BJP’s protest venue, allegedly over the Sabarimala issue. He succumbed to his injuries after having suffered 90% burns.

The BJP’s protest venue outside the Secretariat has also been the focal point of several protests outside Secretariat on the Sabarimala issue, including of protests that turned violent on the hartal declared on 3 January.

 

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