On September 28, a five-judge constitution bench, headed by the chief justice Dipak Mishra lifted the ban on entry of women of menstrual age into the shrine. Hours after the honourable Supreme Court of India announced the verdict, Congress central leadership came out in its support stating that it fully supports SC’s decision but left a fig leaf when it said that Kerala state unit is free to express its opinion based on the “sensitivities” involved.
Despite the party welcoming the verdict, Congress ministers of Kerala state unit have announced to observe a day-long fast at Pathanamthitta on Friday, October 5 and launch a campaign to protect the customs of the Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple. Congress has, however, downplayed the vexatious issue & said that the state units are well within their limits to stage such protests.
Earlier on September 28, Congress Spokesperson, Randeep Surjewala, had “wholeheartedly” welcomed the “progressive” verdict:
We wholeheartedly welcome this progressive and far reaching decision in case of entry into #SabrimalaTemple .
Suoreme Court decision has given a fresh expression to the rights of women and how they cannot be subjugated to any religious practice, no matter how sacred.
— Randeep Singh Surjewala (@rssurjewala) September 28, 2018
Not willing to comment on the seething rage among the Kerala Congress leaders, Mallikarjun Kharge, senior Congress leader also echoed Surjewala’s stand and said to the Indian Express that his “personal view” is that he welcomes the SC decision.
The dichotomy in the views of Congress central leadership & Kerala state unit only suggests that Congress’ aim is to confuse the masses and simultaneously mollify the unhappy protestors and give a semblance of fighting for their grievances.
Congress initially welcomed the SC decision but it was probably not clairvoyant enough and perhaps a little insensitive towards the feelings of their own ministers. As the pressure from the Kerala state unit intensified, Congress had to give in & within a week of the declaration of the verdict, Congress is found to be eating its own words and is now organizing a one day protest against the Sabarimala verdict. One can only guess what is Congress’ actual stand on Sabarimala verdict or is it playing it safe by confounding the public?