BJP national general secretary Muralidhar Rao Wednesday criticised Kerala Chief Electoral Officer Teeka Ram Meena's directive not to use the Sabarimala temple row in the coming Lok Sabha polls, saying it was not just a matter of religion but a "Constitutional issue". "Sabarimala issue is the issue of the public and it is a matter related to human rights and fundamental rights," he told reporters here on the sidelines of a programme organised by the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM).
He was replying to a question on the raging controversy over the state CEO's directive to the political parties when the general elections were just weeks away. "...its is constitutional issue and not just a religious matter..it is becoming part of the discussion and discussion is there..," he said.
When pointed out that the issue of Ayodhya and Babri Masjid had been mentioned by leaders during the time of polls, the BJP leader said it was part of public discourse. "If anybody mentions, how can we stop? It is not one political party which is talking about it..but every party has its own perspective and talking about the matter..public is also participating in the discussion... that's called democracy," he said.
Meena had Monday said "inviting religious feelings, using any kind of Supreme Court judgement, invoking or soliciting the votes in the name of religion or by inciting religious feelings is a clear violation of the model code of conduct." BJP leaders, including former state unit chief Kummanam Rajasekharan, and Congress have opposed the directive, saying the matter was about beliefs. BJP has said it would approach the Chief Election Commissioner on the issue. Earlier, while interacting with the students and young professionals as part of the "Youth Townhall" programme, organised by BJYM, Rao said the BJP was not claiming it would solve the Sabarimala issue.
"BJP, as a political party, issued a statement that we should go for review petition and tell the Supreme Court that these are logics of the believers. "Once you give a chance to discuss, argue and hearing, then, definitely the problem will get resolved...and we have faith in the Supreme Court's jurisprudence," he said.
He said the CPI(M)-led LDF government had not gone for a review petition on September 28, 2018, Supreme Court verdict permitting women of all age groups into the Sabarimala shrine, even though Lord Ayyapap devotees in and outside the state had requested for it. "They (state government) could have gone for the review petition..but they are not doing it...but they are doing everything to scuttle it," he alleged.
Rao said the grand alliance by the opposition parties against the BJP would not be able to offer a "stable, development-centric and corruption-free government." The leader also expressed confidence that the Narendra Modi-led BJP-NDA government would come back to power with a majority of not less than 300 seats in the Lok Sabha polls. Sabarimala had witnessed frenzied protests over the women entry issue after LDF government chose not to file a review petition against the apex court order and went ahead with its implementation.
(With inputs from agencies.)