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News18 » India
2-min read

Kerala BJP Chief’s Clip Calling Sabarimala a ‘Golden Opportunity’ Goes Viral, Vijayan Says Stand Exposed

The clip, which has since gone viral, is from Pillai’s alleged address to the Yuva Morcha state committee in Kozhikode.

Meera Manu | News18

Updated:November 5, 2018, 6:32 PM IST
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Kerala BJP Chief’s Clip Calling Sabarimala a ‘Golden Opportunity’ Goes Viral, Vijayan Says Stand Exposed
Kerala BJP president PS Sreedharan Pillai (left) and chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala BJP president PS Sreedharan Pillai has landed in a row after he reportedly said the Sabarimala issue was a “golden opportunity” for the party.

In a purported audio clip, Pillai can be heard claiming that the chief priest of the Sabarimala Temple consulted him over closing the doors of the sanctum sanctorum if women tried to enter the shrine.

The clip, which has since gone viral, is from Pillai’s address to the Yuva Morcha state committee in Kozhikode. The BJP leader purportedly said chief priest Kandararu Rajeevaru was apprehensive about shutting the doors of the temple as he feared contempt of court but he decided to go ahead with the decision after consulting him.

“The Thantris community has more faith in BJP and its state chief. When women were about to enter Sabarimala, he called me up. I had given him a word and it coincidentally came true. He was a bit upset over shutting the doors of sanctum sanctorum fearing it would invite contempt of court. I was among the few he had contacted that time.

“I said he is not alone. We’d be the first to be slapped with the charges of contempt of court if it comes. There would be tens of thousands of people to be with him. Upon our word, he took a firm stand. That decision had actually left the police and the administration baffled. We hope he’d repeat it again. Later, I became the first accused and he the second accused on charges of contempt of court… As we both figured in, his confidence increased,” he allegedly told the gathering.

When News18 contacted Pillai, he did not deny making the speech and instead said it was on the BJP youth wing’s Facebook page. He said the speech was intended to motivate party workers and show them the “democratic way” of protest. “It is now aired to distract everyone from the merciless acts going on in Sabarimala,” he said.

On the conversation with the Thantris, Pillai said he was only providing legal opinion as a political leader and legal adviser but refused to divulge more details.

Reacting to the clip, Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Twitter: "The odious politics and perfidious ways of BJP stand exposed. Evidence has surfaced that BJP leaders in the State connived to create trouble in Sabarimala. It must be noted that their State president himself was involved in the ruse. This is highly condemnable."

BJP general secretary Muralidhar Rao said he hasn’t heard the clip and doesn't know whether it has been edited or not. "But it shouldn’t be seen as the chief priest acted at the behest of the BJP. The thantri is an imminent person and he would consult a number of people," he said.

Weeks after violent protests against the entry of women of all ages into the Sabarimala Temple rocked Kerala, the shrine opened for a special puja on Monday evening.

Police said 2,300 personnel, including a 20-member commando team and 100 women, have been deployed to ensure smooth 'darshan' and security of devotees, a move that came in for criticism from the erstwhile royal family of Pandalam, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress for such fortification.

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