In a fiery speech in Kerala's Kannur, BJP chief Amit Shah swore his party would stand like a rock with Sabarimala devotees in their stuggle to preserve tradition, and keep out women between the age of 10 and 50 from the Ayappa shrine. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan hit back saying Amit Shah's remarks were nothing short of an attack against the Supreme Court and the constitution.
Will the BJP's strategy of making the Sabarimala a key plank of its Mission Kerala pay off in the run up to 2019? Has Sabarimala become a tightrope walk for the Vijayan government caught between implementing the Supreme Court's order and a huge public backlash?
With the battle lines between the Left and the Right clearly drawn, will the Sabarimala impact determine the fate of Kerala in 2019?