BJP chief Amit Shah. Photo: HT
BJP chief Amit Shah. Photo: HT

Sabarimala row: Amit Shah and Pinarayi Vijayan in war of words

The Marxist government was playing with fire and could pay a heavy price if it went ahead trying to implement the verdict: Amit Shah

Ernakulam: A war of words broke out between Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Amit Shah and Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday, over the Sabarimala temple.

On a visit to Kerala’s Kannur, Shah chanted ‘Swamiya Saranam Ayyappa’ mantra before thousands who came to hear him, and then launched a stringent attack on Vijayan for trying to implement a recent Supreme Court order allowing women to Sabarimala, against the wishes of protesting Hindu devotees who wanted to upheld the age-old religious custom. He said the Marxist government was “playing with fire" and “could pay a heavy price" if it went ahead trying to implement the verdict.

Shah also condemned the reported arrests of over 2,000 devotees, including from BJP and Sangh Parivar, who agitated against the entry of women.

He said by cracking down on protestors, Vijayan was trying to “suppress" the agitation by force. Shah was in Kannur to inaugurate a BJP office. “The communist government is conspiring against temples. They have created an emergency-like situation in Kerala."

Vijayan responded with a post on his personal Facebook page. “His speech is against the Constitution, the court and the people of Kerala. The speech gives the signal that he would overturn the people’s mandate to the government in Kerala. The Communist government in Kerala did not come to power by some benevolence of the BJP."

Controversy over Shah’s landing in Kannur airport

Shah on Saturday landed in Kerala’s newly built Kannur airport, even before its official inauguration.

With his arrival, Shah has not only became the airport’s first unofficial passenger, something which the local BJP units said was the result of its political hegemony.

The government first hesitated to agree to Shah’s landing, but eventually gave in to the demand, sensing that blocking Shah might delay in the inauguration to be conducted by BJP leader and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said a person familiar with the developments.

Arch rivals of the BJP, the state’s communist politicians, criticised Shah.

Power minister MM Mani, in a Facebook post, said it was unbelievable that Amit Shah was given approval to land in the airport. “Amit Shah doesn’t hold any official position with the government and still he was allowed to land in the airport even before the official inauguration. This is just another small example on the awry that happens under the BJP governance."

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