The forked tongue of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) on the entry of women to the Sabarimala hill shrine has once again exposed the party’s age-old inability to resist the compulsions of communal politics wherein a religious faith becomes a political constituency. The party wants to take the high ground of ‘secularism’ but has been unable to live up to its public posturing because of the electoral dent it suffered in the Lok Sabha elections. And the only way out is to do both—play the communal card even while appearing to be principled.
And that is precisely why the CPI (M) speaks in multiple voices. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who originally took a tough stand on Sabarimala and refused to give up even after his party’s electoral debacle, doesn’t appear to have completely backtracked while the Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran is very clear that the government doesn’t want to support “activists” who want to enter the shrine.
Pinarayi Vijayan took legal counsel after the recent Supreme Court decision to refer the case to a seven-member bench while Surendran is categorical that the Government has no intention to allow women to enter the temple. Even as Vijayan appears unsure, the Home Ministry under him is firmly going ahead with the mission to stop menstruating women from entering the shrine.