The Chief Electoral Officer in Kerala on Wednesday told political parties that under no circumstances should votes be solicited in the name of the Sabarimala temple.
Tikka Ram Meena, who on Monday faced the BJP’s ire after he issued a statement to this effect, on Wednesday briefed the media that it was made clear to all political parties at a meeting that under no cost should the name of Lord Ayyappa be used in election campaign.
“It’s because it has a religious connotation,” said Meena.
Ahead of the meeting there was an angry exchange between Meena and senior Bharatiya Janata Party leaders.
Emerging from the meeting, State BJP President PS Sreedharan Pillai hailed the discussion as “fruitful” and said “doubts have been cleared.”
“Just as the Babri Masjid, Ayodhya and Gandhiji’s death have been discussed, the Sabarimala issue can be discussed. However, there must not be any flare up and votes cannot be solicited in the name of Ayyappa,” he said.
There have been protests by Hindu groups since a September 28 Supreme Court verdict that allowed women of all ages to enter the temple, including those from the hitherto banned group of 10 to 50 years. The matter is sub-judice.