Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday asserted that there was no change in the CPI(M)-LDF government's stance on Sabarimala and lashed out at the BJP saying the saffron party had "cheated" devotees in the name of a new legislation.
"There is no change in the state government's stand on Sabarimala. Our stand was to implement the Supreme Court order. If the court orders otherwise, we will act accordingly," Vijayan told reporters here.
The apex court had on September 28 last year allowed women of all age groups to offer prayers at the Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala, thereby lifting the centuries old ban on girls and women in the 10-50 age group.
Protests led by right wing outfits and BJP had broken out all over the state after the LDF government decided to implement the court verdict.
The ruling CPI-M had received a severe drubbing in the Lok Sabha polls this year as the party-led Left Democratic Front managed to bag only one of 20 seats in the state.
The opposition Congress-led UDF which bagged 19 seats and the BJP had alleged that the government's stand on the Sabarimala issue had led to its rout.
"No one need to think that the factors that led to the Lok Sabha results in the state will also affect the state Assembly bypoll at Pala. BJP will always use Sabarimala.
It is not going to affect us," Vijayan said on Thursday.
The BJP, which had earlier claimed that the Union government would pass an ordinance in Parliament (to circumvent the apex court verdict on Sabarimala) had "cheated" those who believed in their "false narratives," he said.
"Where are those who claimed that they will bring out a new law with regard to Sabarimala matter? Now they (BJP) are saying that it is not possible. Have they not cheated those who had trusted them?" Vijayan asked.
"Even the union ministers have publicly said it was not possible to bring a legislation against the Supreme Court orders. Many BJP leaders have said that. So those who believed them have been cheated.
This is going to affect them not us," Vijayan said.
When it was pointed that the CPI(M) state secretary had earlier said the party was with the devotees, Vijayan said the party secretary was right.
"We had made it clear that the party was with the devotees and the same was reiterated in many party forums.
While addressing public meeting across the state, I have said we were not against the devotees," he said.
The renaissance movement was not against the devotees, but was launched to counter the superstitions and social evils prevailing in the society, he said.
Vijayan said the self-criticism which was raised during the CPI(M)'s state committee meeting was that the Left was unable to counter the false narratives and not about the stand taken on the Sabarimala issue.
"But certain political parties, which claim that they are the apostles of devotees, had managed to spread allegation that the Left was against the devotees. We were not cautious enough to counter such allegations during the elections," Vijayan added.
Certain parties want to rewrite the Constitution of the country but as of now, an elected government can perform only according to the Constitution, he said.
"Our country is run by the Constitution. We can perform only according to the Constitution. There are certain elements which want to to rewrite the Constitution. That's a different thing. But as of now, we have the Constitution.
So we can take action only as per it," the chief minister said.
Responding to Vijayan's statements, the BJP lashed out saying it shows the Left's "ideological bankruptcy." The Congress alleged that the CPI(M) and the state government were cheating the public with their dual stand on Sabarimala.
The believers had unitedly reacted against the LDF government decision on Sabarimala which reflected in the Lok Sabha polls, Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala said.
"In the last election people reacted to the state government's stand on Sabarimala. And now, when the CPI(M) says that the stand of the government distanced people from the party, the CM today said there is no change in the policy," Chennithala said.
On January 2, two had women entered the temple early in the morning leading to violence across the state by right wing elements chanting Ayyappa mantras.