‘Politicians shouldn’t interfere with religious bodies’: Kerala BJP chief's interview with TNM

Kummanam's yatra is to project the BJP as an alternative to UDF and LDF
‘Politicians shouldn’t interfere with religious bodies’: Kerala BJP chief's interview with TNM
‘Politicians shouldn’t interfere with religious bodies’: Kerala BJP chief's interview with TNM

 “Faith and politics don’t go hand in hand. It’s a harmful concoction which should be kept at bay for the betterment of society,” says Kummanam Rajasekharan, Kerala BJP State president on the eve of the BJP’s ‘Kerala Vimochana Yathra’ which is all set to begin its march from Kasargod on Wednesday in Thiruvananthapuram.

This wasn’t a mere generic response, but was a reply to a query posed by The News Minute on whether politicians should have a say in temple matters, following the Sabarimala controversy.

Kummanam took pains to delineate why outside agencies should not interfere with the workings of a religious body or a place of worship.

“It all boils down to a matter of faith. The Sabarimala temple has a ‘vriddha aacharnam’ (religious penance) of its own. Any change in rules of worship that is required should be discussed by the Acharyanmaars (venerable leaders) and the governing bodies associated with that temple and not by outsiders. Why interfere with a mechanism already in place to deal with any religious grievances of a devotee?” asks Kummanam.

Talking about the BJP Yathra which he will helm, Kummanam says that the primary focus of the march will be on “Annam (food), Vellam (water), Mannu (land) and Thulya Neethi (Equal Justice for All).”

Kummanam also shared his happiness in evoking a positive response to the proposed Yathra from all sections of society, irrespective of caste, creed or religion: “We need to tell the people that they now have a third option other than the United Democratic Front or the Left Front in Kerala. And we are willing to talk to anyone who opposes the two fronts on grounds of corruption and mismanagement of public resources.”

He is however quick to point out that it is too early to talk of alliances in the upcoming Assembly elections due in April, even though talks with the Bharat Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS) –the political party recently floated by Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana (SNDP) Yogam general secretary Vellappllay Natesan- are on in full swing with the latest round of talks being held in New Delhi on Sunday.

The Yathra will be flagged off by Union Minister M Venkiah Naidu on Wednesday, while Rajnath Singh –the Union Home Minister- will be the chief guest at the Yathra’s culmination in Thiruvananthapuram on February 10.

When asked whether he still continued as the general secretary of the Hindu Aikyavedi, Kummanam said that he had relinquished all other posts of authority to focus all his attention in nurturing the party and helping its growth in Kerala.

The BJP has also restructured the state unit leadership ahead of the Yathra. Commenting on this, Kummanam said that it was a natural process to bring in a new team with a change in leadership. The new team in place, he said, was chosen after discussions were held and a consensus was reached.

From the time the BJP state leadership mantle landed on his shoulders, the veteran leader has made it a point to reach out to all sections of people. That he shares a warm personal equation with heads of various religious groups in the state is very evident with even the Marthoma Metropolitan –head of the Marthoma Church- describing him as a prophet at a recent function at Aranmula in Pathanamthitta.

When asked whether he epitomized the moderate persona of the RSS in the state, Kummanam replied that RSS was portrayed as a militant organisation –while in reality it isn’t- due to a deliberate campaign of misinformation by vested interests.

Citing an example, he clarified, “RSS has always been held responsible for Gandhi’s assassination, when it is in no way connected to the whole episode.”

When prodded about repeated attempts by RSS to allegedly honour Nathuram Godse -Gandhi’s assassin- he retorted that it was the media which labelled some odd effort by a few people as that of the RSS: “RSS neither has the inclination to indulge in any such sly scheming nor does it lack the courage to execute anything it put its mind to.

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