The Congress-led opposition UDF had been opposing the adamant stand taken by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and his government in implementing the September 28 apex court verdict permitting women of all age groups into the hill shrine.
The Sabarimala women entry issue and the alleged slow pace of the post-flood relief and rehabilitation initiatives by the LDF government are likely to be raked up by the opposition in the 14th session of the Kerala Assembly, beginning here on January 25. Governor Justice P Sathasivam would deliver the customary policy address of the CPI(M)-led LDF government, when the House convenes tomorrow for the budget session. The brief seven-day session will see the presentation of the budget by Finance Minister T M Thomas Isaac at a time when Kerala is reeling under an acute financial crunch after the worst floods of the century had hit the state leaving a trail of destruction and claiming over 490 lives.
The budget, to be presented on January 31, is expected to have some major proposals for rebuilding the flood-hit state and also to give a fillip to its development dreams in the backdrop of the upcoming Lok Sabaha polls. This is for the first time that the House is being convened after the culmination of the two-month long annual pilgrimage season at the Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala which had witnessed the dramatic entry of women of menstruating age and violent protests by devotees and right wing activists against the entry of young women.
The Congress-led opposition UDF had been opposing the adamant stand taken by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and his government in implementing the September 28 apex court verdict permitting women of all age groups into the hill shrine. They had also alleged the “hastiness” shown by Vijayan on the women entry issue had helped BJP-RSS and Sangh groups to gain a foothhold in Kerala, where they were striving to expand their base ahead of the Parliamentary polls. Besides the dramatic entry of two women-Kanakadurga and Bindhu belonging to the traditionally-barred age group-at the shrine, the UDF is also likely to raise on the floor of the House the discrepancies in the list of young women who offered worship at the shrine submitted by the police in the apex court and the government’s decision to organise the “women’s wall.”
On the development front, the UDF alleged the Left Front government had failed to come up with any single flagship development project as it completes 1,000 days in office. They also charged that even months after the deluge, relief and rehabilitation initiatives were yet to be implemented effectively in the state and the LDF government was trying to rake up the Sabarimala issue to cover up the administrative paralysis. The ruling front is also expected to get adequate opportunities to defend the stand taken on various issues including the Sabarimala temple entry and list out steps taken for rebuilding Kerala during the brief session, scheduled to conclude on February 7.