The BJP, which was spearheading the agitation against the entry of young women at Sabarimala, on Thursday announced its decision to shift its protest from the temple complex to the state capital Thiruvananthapuram to intensify its stir.
Reacting to the BJP's move, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the decision to "stop" the protest in Sabarimala was because the BJP had got an inkling of the secular minds of the people in the state.
Talking to reporters in Thiruvananthapuram, he said, "We can see that the measures adopted by the government in Sabarimala have been welcomed by everyone. Now, BJP has stopped their protest in Sabarimala..change can be seen there..."
BJP state president P S Sreedharan Pillai said its leaders would launch an indefinite hunger strike before the Secretariat, to press various demands, including the lifting of prohibitory orders and providing basic amenities to pilgrims in and around the Lord Ayyappa temple.
The BJP also wanted the scrapping of alleged 'fake' cases against its state general secretary K Surendran, who is now behind the bars after being arrested en route to Sabarimala earlier this month.
Rejecting reports that BJP was ending its Sabarimala agitation, he said, "The party will launch indefinite hunger strike before the Secretariat from December 3."
Senior leader and state General secretary A N Radhakrishnan will kick start the agitation," he told reporters in Kochi.
At present, we are planning a 15-day-stir, he said adding that the party would decide on further course of the agitation after taking into consideration the CPI(M)-led LDF government's stand on their demands.
Besides this, the party has also plans to start a state-wide signature campaign to collect one crore signatures demanding protection of rituals and traditions of the shrine.
However, the chief minister rejected BJP's claim that his office had masterminded the cases against Mr Surendran.
"My office already has enough files to take care of other than that of Surendran's.. its not my office's duty," he said.
"And, how can they (BJP) protest seeking to withdraw cases charged for violating the law? We cannot help it..," Mr Vijayan said.
Meanwhile, Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Mullappally Ramachandran alleged that the BJP's decision to shift their agitation here was part of the "adjustment" between the party and the Chief Minister.
Congress-led UDF opposition disrupted the proceedings of the state assembly for the second day today over the issues related to Sabarimala, which had witnessed intense protests by devotees and right wing activist against the LDF government's decision to implement the Apex court verdict permitting women of all age groups into the shrine.
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