Another controversy over Sabarimala is brewing in Kerala after Devaswom Board Commissioner N Vasu called on CPI (M) State Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan at the party headquarters AKG Centre on Thursday, amid reports suggesting the removal of Travancore Devaswom President A Padmakumar.
Reports indicated that there is a move to remove Padmakumar from the post of TDB President and replace him with Recruitment Board Chairman M Rajagopalan Nair. It is also reported that the President sought a report from the Commissioner on changing TDB's stand on the entry of women of all ages into Sabarimala.
Vasu told TNM that he visited the party state secretary as the latter enquired about the TDB President's differing statements on the issue. "The TDB President was appointed by the party right?" Vasu asked to a question on what CPI (M) has to do with it.
Padmakumar on his part said that he is not aware how media reports surfaced on the statements allegedly made by him. Some reports said that Padmakumar has said that he will enquire how the TDB changed its stand on the issue when the Supreme Court was hearing the review petitions on Tuesday.
"I don't know about all these," he said.
Advocate Rakesh Dwivedi who appeared for the TDB in the court said that it was in favour of the SC verdict and an application has been filed to that effect. But Padmakumar told media persons that TDB had never filed a review petition in the case but only asked for more time to implement the judgment.
“We never filed a review petition against the entry of young women, but filed a petition seeking more time to give a proper explanation. Regarding the court verdict, we have stated that we accept it and we are against any form of discrimination," he said.
The TDB, ever after the LDF came to power in 2016, didn't oppose the entry of women of all ages. However, it had vehemently opposed it when the Congress-led UDF was in power in Kerala. "But only those who want to know about such things are trying to figure out the difference. Others are interested in creating a controversy saying that the TDB's stand took a U Turn," Vasu said.
It is also reported that Vasu held discussions with Rakesh Dwivedi a day before the review petitions were heard.
TDB, which manages 1,248 temples, also runs the Sabarimala temple. The TDB President is a post that is shuffled when alternating governments come to power. And the appointment of the top officials are political.
Padmakumar is a former MLA of the CPI (M). Despite being a party person, Padmakumar ever since the Supreme Court pronounced its verdict allowing women of menstruating ages to enter Sabarimala, had been making statements that contradicted the stand of the government.