In a meeting with select senior journalists in Indore held on Tuesday, Congress President Rahul Gandhi said that he personally believes that women should be allowed into Sabarimala temple. However, he clarified that on this matter, he and his party have differing views, as the people of Kerala, including women, seem to support the ban on women’s entry into Sabarimala. He said that as the party represents the people, he submits to their wishes. He made these statements in response to questions posed to him by The Economic Times.
In a Facebook post published on Tuesday evening, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan appreciated Rahul’s stance on the issue, and acknowledged the difference between the state and national Congress Committees and politicians on this issue. He said, “Rahul Gandhi’s view on allowing women to enter Sabarimala as per the Supreme Court’s orders is indeed welcoming. It has once more become clear that Rahul Gandhi’s view is that of the All India Congress Committee which observed that the verdict was indeed historical. It is really unfortunate that the view of the All India Congress Committee’s president is not shared by the Kerala Congress.” He mentioned that Congress spokesperson had supported Rahul Gandhi’s views as well.
In the Facebook post, Pinarayi Vijayan went on to elaborate what he felt the rift between the national and state Congress opinion on this issue meant, and the political implications of the same. “The approach taken by the Kerala congress which differs from that of the All India Congress is reflective of the anti-democratic stance that they have reached. The Indian Constitution was drafted after imbibing the values of the national freedom movement. This is clear proof that the Kerala Congress has strayed from such values. A section of the Congress leadership in Kerala is supporting this conservative stance. However such a stance is also going to help the BJP. Kerala Congress’s dangerous stance is one which is aligning with the political views of the Sangh Parivar.”
He rounded off his post by pointing out that “a section of the Kerala Congress has welcomed a stance that is dismissive of the views of the All India Congress’, and Rahul Gandhi’s, leadership”. Finally, he said, “The people would like to know the stance of those Congress members who acknowledge and respect the constitution, and law and order, on this issue”.