In a huge setback to the BJP and the Congress, voters in Sabarimala have rejected their attempts to communalise the religious issue. Results of the recently-held local body polls show that the ruling CPI-m-led LDF has won 21 out of total 39 wards, while BJP lost the Pathanamthitta seat. Sabarimala is located in Pathanamthitta district.
The Congress-led UDF bagged 11 wards, five less than the last time, while the BJP could win only two in Alappuzha district. The campaign for the local body bypolls, according to a report by Times of India, was as fiery as the Lok Sabha elections. While the BJP and the Congress made desperate attempts to raise the issue of religious sentiments of Hindus being hurt, the LDF campaigned highlighting the stand taken by the Pinarayi Vijayan government.
A ToI report said that the BJP candidate got just 12 votes in Pandalam municipality’s Kadakkad division, the nerve centre of Sabarimala protest organised by Hindu outfits. The seat went to the SDPI, the political party of Muslim group NDF.
Independents won three wards while SDPI won two, increasing its tally by one.
Religious fanatics from the Hindu community had held violent protests in October this year when women devotees tried to enter the Sabarimala temple. This was after the Supreme Court allowed the entry of women of all age into the temple. Violent Hiindutva supporters had attacked female journalists covering the event.
Later, an audio of a BJP leader had gone viral, claiming how he played a key role in instigating the violence.