New Delhi: Congress chief Rahul Gandhi has tweaked his stand on the entry of women at Kerala’s Sabarimala temple. Gandhi, who earlier spoke in favour of allowing women of all ages into Lord Ayyappa shrine, said he thinks people, who are upholding the traditional ban also have valid arguments. Speaking at a presser in the United Arab Emirates, Gandhi reportedly said,”I can see the validity in both arguments. I cannot give you an open-and-shut position. I leave it to the people of Kerala to decide.”

“I have heard both the arguments. My initial position was different from my position today. After having heard the arguments of the people of Kerala, I can see validity in both the arguments. I can see validity in the argument that tradition needs to be protected and I can see validity in the argument that women should have equal rights,” he reportedly said.

Earlier the Congress president had contradicted the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee’s decision and had said,”My stand is against the party’s stand. Men and women are equal. Women should be allowed to go anywhere they want.”

Besides Gandhi, other leaders of the grand old party also took a u-turn on the issue. Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor on January 2, criticised women who are entering the Sabarimala temple. “Sabarimala advocates will tell you that any woman who believes in the legend of Lord Ayyappa in Sabarimala would not wish to worship there until she had turned 50, because to worship there before 50… if she is of reproductive age would something that would violate the very principles of the deity she was worshiping,” the Congress MP had said in an interview to a news channel.

Sabarimala Row: 

Protests, often marred by violence, had rocked parts of the state after the government moved to implement the Supreme Court’s order, lifting ban on women of menstruating age to enter the Sabarimala temple. The BJP and Hindutva organisations like the RSS had blamed the CPI(M), which leads the Left front government in Kerala, for violence while the ruling party has accused the right-wing groups of fomenting unrest.