In a video and audio put out by Malayalam television news channels, Kerala BJP president Sreedharan Pillai is heard saying that the chief of the Thantri family had consulted with him before taking the decision to close the temple doors, if any woman of 'barred age group' arrived for darshan. Speaking at a closed-door meeting of BJP Yuva Morcha in Kozhikode, Sreedharan Pillai said that everyone had surrendered before the BJP's agenda.
“Sabarimala is a golden opportunity. It is an issue. Settling the Sabarimala issue in a straight line is not possible. We put forward an agenda and everyone else surrendered to it, leaving only us and our enemies, the government and its parties,” he said.
Sreedharan Pillai also said that the BJP had planned the entire protest when the temple was opened in October. “Our BJP secretaries had gone to a (decided) place and carried out what they were supposed to do successfully. When Sreejith IPS went to Sabarimala with two women, it was a Yuva Morcha leader who assembled devotees and stopped them. The outside world doesn’t know all this,” he said.
A large group of men had stopped Inspector General of Police Sreejith, who had climbed the hill with two women - journalist Kavitha Jakkal and activist Rehana Fathima.
The BJP state president was also heard saying that the temple chief had called him to discuss options of shutting the sanctum sanctorum when women devotees were approaching Sabarimala temple. According to Sreedharan Pillai, Sabarimala Thantri Kandararu Rajeevaru had asked him if closing the temple would amount to contempt of court.
“The Thantri community believes in the BJP and its state president in particular. When the women were brought near the shrine, he called me. He was disturbed. I was one of the people whom he had called. He asked whether shutting down the temple would attract contempt of court charges. I told him that he was not alone and this was not contempt. Even if a case were to be filed, it would be against us (BJP) and thousands will give support. When I told him not to fear, he said he was relieved,” the BJP leader can be heard saying.
Reacting to the leak and his revelations about the Thantri calling him, Sreedharan Pillai told the media persons that he spoke to the temple chief as an advocate and he will support him in the contempt of court case.
“Many people, including the thantri, have called me to seek legal support. Since we have a contempt of court case against us, I am not reacting. It was filed by someone in the Chief Minister’s office,” said Sreedharan Pillai.
The speech has become a huge controversy in Kerala, with both the CPI (M) and Congress alleging that the BJP's plan to create communal issues in the state had been exposed. When state Congress chief Ramesh Chennithala was asked whether the Congress too had 'surrendered' to BJP's agenda, he replied saying that the Congress' stand that women of menstruating age should not be allowed into Sabarimala was not new.