An audio clip released, reportedly of BJP’s state president PS Sreedharan Pillai speaking at a BJP Yuva Morcha event, bragging that the Sabarimala unrest was part of the BJP propaganda and people have fallen for it, has created a massive political controversy.
In the audio clip, purportedly from Pillai’s speech at a BJP Yuva Morcha rally in Kozhikode where he was addressing party workers, he said, ‘Kandararu Rajeevaru had called me when women tried to enter Sabarimala. He asked me whether closing the temple is contempt of court. I promised him that he will not be alone even if a contempt of court case is registered. He told me that he believed my words. This issue is a golden chance for us. We should exploit this to the maximum. Everyone has fell down in the agenda set by us.’
In the same speech, he reportedly goes on to add, ‘the Thanthri has immense faith in BJP and its state president. I assured him that he is not alone and tens of thousands of people to be with him. After my assurance he took a firm stand which confused even the police and the district administration. We hope he will continue to do this in the future as well’.
BJP secretaries had gone to a location and did their jobs as per instructions. It was our Yuva Morcha leaders who helped organise all the devotees when Sreejith IPS went to Sabarimala with two women. Nobody knows about this outside.’
After this audio clip went viral, Pillai, in his defense, has said that he was only giving legal counsel to the head priest of Sabarimala, who is addressed as Tanthri, as Pillai is also an advocate. While not denying that the voice heard in the audio clip is his own, Pillai dodged questions about the golden opportunity he was referring to in his speech.
This huge political controversy has broken out on a day when the Sabarimala shrine is to be reopened for just 30 hours for a special Puja for Sree Chitira Atta Thirunal amidst heightened security and section 144 being imposed in areas like Nilakkal, Pamba and Sannidhanam.
Last month when the Sabarimala Shrine was to be reopened for the first time after the Supreme Court order allowing women of all age groups to enter, state units of the Congress and BJP had taken a stand against the SC verdict. The BJP has been leading multiple protests with its national President Amit Shah, recently in his visit to Kerala giving a clarion call to continue with the agitation.
Appeals with the SC remains pending even as the state government has increased the security cover for the two days that the temple is reopening for. Later in November, the peak season for devotees visiting Sabarimala begins as the gates of the shrine will be opened to public on November 16 till December 27, for the Mandala Puja and again from December 30 to January 14 for the Makara Vilakku.