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Rahul Gandhi Changes Stand on Sabarimala Row, Says Can’t Spell Out ‘Open and Shut Position’

Rahul Gandhi, who had earlier supported the entry of young women at the Lord Ayyappa temple, said he now thinks people in favour of the traditional ban also have valid arguments.

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Updated:January 13, 2019, 11:53 AM IST
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Rahul Gandhi Changes Stand on Sabarimala Row, Says Can’t Spell Out ‘Open and Shut Position’
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi interacts with students at IMT, Dubai International Academic City, in Dubai on Saturday. (PTI)
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New Delhi: Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday admitted that he had changed his stand on the entry of young women at Kerala’s Sabarimala temple to one where he sides openly with neither parties.

Speaking at an event in Dubai, Gandhi, who had earlier supported the entry of women of menstruating age at the Lord Ayyappa temple, said he now thinks the people in favour of the traditional ban also have valid arguments.

“I can see the validity in both arguments… I cannot give you an open-and-shut position… I leave it to the people of Kerala to decide,” the Gulf News quoted the Congress chief as saying.

A report in The Indian Express quoted him as saying that he had changed his position “after hearing from the people of Kerala”.

“I have heard both the arguments. My initial position was different from my position today. After having heard the arguments of the people of Kerala, I can see validity in both the arguments. I can see validity in the argument that tradition needs to be protected and I can see validity in the argument that women should have equal rights,” he reportedly said.

Gandhi and the party’s Kerala leadership had earlier hit out at the Right-wing groups leading protests against the entry of women at the Sabarimala temple, batting for gender equality.

Gandhi’s latest statement may be part of the Congress’ electoral strategy of a ‘soft’ Hindutva push which saw the party president embark on several temple visit ahead of recently held Assembly elections.

At the event, Rahul Gandhi also defended his ‘misogynistic’ statements against Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, saying he would made similar comments had a man been in-charge instead of her.

"Prime Minister Narendra Modi has helped Anil Ambani steal Rs 30,000 crore and the House of the people Lok Sabha is where he should have defended himself but he chose to send another person and that person happened to be a woman,” a PTI report quoted him as saying.

"I would have made a very similar comment if it had been a man. Do not impose your sexism on me. I am very clear that the prime minister should have delivered that defence but he did not have the guts,” Gandhi said.

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| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai
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