A section of BJP leaders is red-faced over the way senior RSS leader Valsan Thillankeri took over the protests at Sabarimala on Tuesday. This signals that the RSS has wrested the initiative from the state BJP leadership. While RSS state secretary/Prantha Karyavahak P. Gopalankutty Master is tight-lipped, a section within the RSS is also divided as seen by the manner in which Thillankeri violated the norms at the shrine.
The RSS state leadership had called a meeting of various Sangh Parivar organisations in Kochi last week to take the further course of action at Sabarimala on Monday. It was decided to depute BJP state general secretary K. Surendran and Thillankeri at Sannidhanam. A BJP leader told that while the general public and the police know the senior BJP leaders, RSS men were unfamiliar.
Hence Thillankeri and J. Nandakumar, who is the Akhil Bhartiya Samyojak (convener) of Prajna Pravah, an umbrella organisation of think-tanks affiliated with the Sangh, and Hindu Aikya Vedhi state president K. P. Sasikala were deputed at Sanni-dhanam and Pampa.
Nandakumar had left Sannidhanam late on Sunday itself. Other RSS leaders, including Krishnan Kutty, the Pranthiya Seva Pramukh, were also posted at other locations like Marakoo-ttam, Pathanamthitta, Vadasserrikara, Erumeli and Nilakkal to take stock of the situation.
“After the fiasco by Ayyappa Dharmasena state president Rahul Easwar during the five-day pooja last month, this time the RSS leadership did not want the situation to go out of control. They were not aware of how the police would act when women would try to enter Sabarimala. But Thillankeri came under the media glare after he took control of the situation at the 18 holy steps,” the BJP leader said.
Sasikala had posted a comment on the Facebook: “Lord Ayyappa, those who defile the sanctity of the temple and their three generations will be doomed forever.”
Gopalankutty Master had initially welcomed the Supreme Court verdict, but he has been sulking and remained incommunicado. The second rung RSS leadership has been leading the Sabarimala crusade and the BJP leadership has been following it.