Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 23: With the split between CPI(M)-led LDF government and Travancore Devaswom Board widening over the rituals at Sabarimala temple, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Aug 22 said the controversies were attempts to distance the Left party from believers.
In a Facebook post, Vijayan said the Left government could pay equal attention in improving the facilities for Ayyappa devotees at Sabarimala and take initiative to help Haj pilgrims as it viewed all human beings as one irrespective of religion and caste barriers.
"There have always been attempts to distance the Left from believers. Our political rivals, who wished to disintegrate Communist party in its budding stage itself, had unleashed campaign that Communists were going to demolish places of worship," Vijayan said.
"However, people, including believers and atheists, and those belonging to different religions and castes dismissed all these false propaganda and had placed their hope and faith on the party," he said.
The Chief Minister's statement comes in the wake of the controversy triggered over some of his suggestions like ending the VIP queue at Sabarimala and to keep the hillock shrine open throughout the year. TDB president Prayar Gopalakrishnan and Sabarimala 'tantri' (head priest) Kandaru Rajeevaru came out openly against Vijayan's suggestion.
The 'tantri' said the decision to keep the shrine open for darshan throughout the year could not be taken by the government unilaterally. Coming out against the stand of TDB president, Devaswom minister Kadakampally Surendran described him as "communal" and said he was trying to sabotage the government's development plans at Sabarimala.
Indicating that the Left government's effort is to provide equal treatment to all people, Vijayan said in his Facebook post that it was with happiness that he inaugurated a Haj camp in Nedumbassery airport.
"The camp can accommodate 1,600 pilgrims and others at a stretch," he added. Claiming that Kerala was a model for ensuring better facilities for Haj pilgrims, the Chief Minister also said this time 11,000 people would go to Haj under the government quota, the highest ever so far.