Thiruvananthapuram: The all-party meeting in Kerala over the Sabarimala issue failed to reach a consensus with the Congress later claiming that the Chief Minister was adamant in his stand. The Opposition has reportedly asked the state government to seek more time from the Supreme Court to implement its September 28 order that lifted the ban on entry of women in the age group of 10-50 years, said media reports. Also Read - Sabarimala Case: Questions of Law Can be Referred to Larger Bench For Review, Says Supreme Court
While the main agenda for the meeting was arrangements for Mandala Makkaravillakku the two-month season that will see the hill shrine open again on Saturday, the government’s stand on the Supreme Court verdict took over the discussion. Also Read - Prepare Inventory of Sacred Jewellery at Sabarimala Temple, Says Supreme Court
Later, Chief Minister Pinayari Vijayan told media that the government had no option but to implement the Supreme Court order. It wasn’t a question of devotees, “the State is with devotees, no one should have a doubt about it,” he said. Also Read - Ayodhya Announcement: Opposition Questions Timing, No Violation of MCC, Says Election Commission
“The Supreme Court clearly says that the September 28 verdict stands. It means that the entry of women should be allowed. Govt cannot take any stand against this verdict. We respect the feelings of the devotees. We are bound to implement the court verdict,” he said.
He added that the devotees would be protected. He also said that the government was willing to talk to all stakeholders. Vijayan also said that there could be an option of allowing women of the ‘banned group’ on certain days instead of demanding a complete ban.
Vijayan is anyway holding a meeting with the royal family of Travancore and the temple priest later in the day. Reports said that the Congress walked out of the meeting.
The Opposition has reportedly been of the opinion that the infrastructure wasn’t fit enough, especially after the August floods, to support the annual season that begins on Saturday.
Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala had written to Vijayan, expressing his concern over pending infrastructural works at Nilakkal and Pamba, en route to the hill shrine.
“Since there is delay in clearing the pending bills to the contractors, they are yet to take up major repair works. Also Punalur, Muvattupuzha, Chalakkayam routes are in a bad state and cause heavy traffic congestion,” he alleged.
He also alleged that the drinking water facility at Pamba was yet to be restored. “The pipelines which got damaged in the floods are yet to be replaced. Drinking water facilities are yet to function effectively,” Chennithala said.
However, the government said it was prepared for the season. The Kerala Water Authority (KWA) has said that it has made all necessary arrangements to make available drinking water at Nilakkal, which is the base camp.