All Congress Lok Sabha MPs from Kerala wanted to wear a black ribbon on their arms 'to protest' against the CPIM-led LDF government's move to implement the Supreme court order, allowing women of any age to enter the Sabarimala temple
New Delhi: Congress MPs from Kerala are very upset. Why? Because they were at the receiving end of a cold shoulder from UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, who did not allow them to register their protest against Pinarayi Vijayan's government allowing two women to enter the Sabarimala temple. They had scheduled a protest against this on Wednesday. The idea was to be seen observing a 'Black Day' inside the Parliament, which has come to be known as the official stand of the Congress in Kerala.
All Congress Lok Sabha MPs from Kerala wanted to wear a black ribbon on their arms 'to protest' against the CPIM-led LDF government's move to implement the Supreme court order, allowing women of any age to enter the Sabarimala temple.
One MP brought the black ribbons that were to be tied to give them an edge in a polarised Kerala, where both the BJP and Congress are on the same side - against women's entry.
But before they could pull it off, their plan reached the ears of the Congress leadership, which has taken a completely different stand on the Sabarimala row at the national level.
Sonia Gandhi, who likes to be remembered as someone who championed the cause of the Women's Reservation Bill, scrambled to stop them. A strict warning was sent through an emissary to junk the proposed protest on the floor of the House.
However, she allowed them to take an 'independent stand' on the same matter in Kerala.
More than one Congress leader from Kerala confirmed this to MyNation, requesting anonymity.
The Sonia rap came right after two women on January 2 were 'stealthily sneaked in', as a Congress Lok Sabha MP puts it, inside the temple, where traditionally women between the ages of 10 and 50 are not allowed to enter and pray.
Two women, Bindu and Kanakadurga made history by entering the temple escorted by four cops in civil dress. Both of them had made a failed attempt to enter the premises in December 2018.
Image courtesy: The News Minute
This incident divided the public discourse sharply. The temple was shut for what it called 'purification', as the BJP called for a bandh.
In the competitive space of 'who is the real champion of pro-ritual brigade', the Congress too demonstrated across the state, even in front of the chief minister's cavalcade that ran over a couple of Congress cadres in the state. The Lok Sabha MPs had hurried to claim that space by wearing black ribbons inside the Parliament.
Kerala is more polarised today than it was ever before, particularly since the apex court allowed women to enter the shrine. The Congress is a comrade of the BJP's brand of politics in Kerala, as far as Sabarimala is concerned. But once in Delhi, they have to pretend to be concerned about women's rights. That's a straightforward message to its lawmakers from none less than Sonia Gandhi.
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Last Updated Jan 4, 2019, 7:24 PM IST