Thiruvananthapuram: BJP's firebrand leader Sobha Surendran has likened arch rival and LDF candidate in the April 6 assembly polls –Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran to Hindu mythological character "Poothana" (demonness) as she attacked him over the Sabarimala issue. Sobha Surendran, during an election meeting at her Kazhakootam constituency on Saturday night attacked the minister saying he has come as "Poothana" to harm the Ayyappa devotees, who will transform into 'Krishnas' to annihilate him in the electoral arena.
According to the Hindu mythology, "Poothana", who assumed the disguise of a beautiful young woman, had tried to breastfeed Krishna with poison when she was killed by the infant god. The minister's expression of regret on the Sabarimala issue was just a ploy during the polls, she said.
Refusing to take the bait, Kadakampally Surendran said he had grown up in the culture of the working class and will always respect women. Let the voters decide, he said.
The Minister had recently expressed regret for the incidents that had rocked the Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala in 2018 over the women entry issue. He had said it "should never have happened" and the final verdict of the Supreme court would be implemented only after consultations with believers, political parties and the general public.
Kerala had witnessed high drama during the nearly three month long annual pilgrim season in 2018 with around a dozen women in the 10-50 age group being prevented from entering the Sabarimala temple by protesting devotees after the apex court permitted women of all age groups into the hill shrine. The LDF, particularly CPI(M), had drawn flak from several quarters over the women's entry issue for its alleged hastiness in implementing the apex court verdict.
During the 2019 Aroor Bypoll, PWD minister G Sudhakaran had courted controversy over the "Poothana" remark he had made against Shanimol Usman, the Congress candidate and had to later retract. Usman, who had won the election, is contesting again from the same constituency this time.