Opposition leader and congress MLA Ramesh Chennithala told news media that the state government need not have hurried to implement the SC verdict on women's entry into Sabarimala.
“We have seen many instances when the state government did not act immediately to implement the SC verdicts. When the highways law prohibiting bars to come up within 500 metres of highways was put into force, the LDF government took 4 months to implement it. With the Sabarimala issue, they have not even received the copy of the verdict, but have already made arrangements to implement the verdict,” he said in an exclusive interview to Manorama.
Accusing the CM of creating the biggest rift in post-flood Kerala, Chennithala said, “When the brewery issue happened the CM withdrew the order saying that he did not want a rift in post-flood Kerala. However, what he has done now is create the biggest rift. It has split Kerala in two.”
When asked how the Congress’s stance on Sabarimala was different from that of the BJP’s, Chennithala stated that the BJP was trying to polarise the state instead of taking action in a peaceful and law abiding manner, while the Congress was not.
“The UDF’s stance on this issue has been the same since 2016, when the Oomman Chandy government filed an affidavit. It is the BJP and CPI(M) who have taken a stance recently. Further, BJP has not even filed a review petition yet. We have asked former Devaswom Board president Prayar Gopalakrishnan to file a review petition. There is no need for Amit Shah to come and create a ruckus. The BJP can lobby the central government to create an ordinance on the Sabarimala issue. However they haven’t done anything which shows that they just want to turn the temple into a war zone. The same goes for CPI(M) which tried to implement the verdict in such a hurry. Shows that both parties want political mileage by creating a religious lift in Kerala,” he said.
Chennithala also said that the SC’s verdict was not ultimate. “There are other legal options. And the judiciary has always showed that courts can change their stances. You are only in contempt of the court if you criticise a judge. You have every right to criticise the verdict,” he said.
On being asked if he was against other progressive verdicts such as Section 377, Chennithala said that he was not against all Supreme Court verdicts however, he wished the court would consider the ‘tradition’ of our country and the ‘family values’ we uphold before passing such verdicts.
When asked if Kerala Congress did not feel like it had to consider the views of its party leader Rahul Gandhi, who said that he was not opposed to the verdict, Chennithala said that state units had the right to take a separate stance in such issues.
“Congress units have the right to take different stances after considering the popular sentiments of different states. This is what Rahul Gandhi said as well,” he added.