Thiruvananthapuram:  Ayyappa devotees have been staging protests since October last year with an intention to preserve the tradition in Sabarimala. With Lok Sabha election nearing, they have come up with a new strategy claiming that they will vote for only those leaders, who will preserve "their Sabarimala".

The Ayyappa devotees also insist that in the election manifesto, it should be clearly written that the party favours and will protect Sabarimala temple.

The devotees openly posted posters on the walls outside their homes, indicating that they will only vote for the candidate, who will seek votes with the open promise of supporting Sabarimala and its tradition. 

Also read‘Only those who declare support for Sabarimala, Hindu traditions, protect temples will get votes of Ayyappa devotees’

Hindu helpline leader Binil Somasundram said to MyNation, "One of the major issues in Kerala for the past six months is the Sabarimala controversy. State police and the government have behaved cruelly to citizens and Lok Sabha election has a major role to play with respect to Sabarimala. Each devotee and every Hindu will choose that candidate, who will preserve Sabarimala."

The verdict of the apex court on September 28 last year allowing the entry of women of all age groups into the famous shrine had made Sabarimala a battlefield. Women of all ages should be allowed in Kerala's renowned Sabarimala temple, the Supreme Court ordered, ending the age-old ban.

Meanwhile, Kerala’s Chief Electoral Officer Teeka Ram Meena on March 11 said that proper guidelines would be given to the parties in the state for the upcoming Lok Sabha election. The issue of women entry in Sabarimala cannot be used for the election campaign and it would be a violation of the code of conduct. 

Teeka Ram Meena added that strict measures would be imposed for using Sabarimala as the poll plank during campaign for the upcoming Lok Sabha election in Kerala. He also said that he would discuss the matter with representatives of all the political parties. However, party sources say that the discussion hasn't taken place so far.