The State unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Sangh Parivar organisations are garnering strength to vie with rival fronts to wrest political space ahead of the Lok Sabha elections and consolidate the gains it claims to have achieved from the agitation against the Supreme Court verdict on Sabarimala.
Positioning the BJP in the forefront, the Sabarimala Karma Samithi, a construct of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and other Parivar organisations, is attempting to keep the embers burning by roping in spiritual leaders.
Though the State BJP leadership had conceded that it could not reap the desired outcome of the agitation and the RSS expressed its resentment for messing up the movement by shifting the venue from the precincts of Sabarimala to the doors of the Secretariat, the Parivar is hopeful of sustaining the tempo of the movement at least till the Supreme Court hears the review petitions.
But the fate of the agitation largely rests on the decision on the review petitions and the Parivar organisations may have to rework their strategies post verdict.
The renewed ebullience of the BJP and the Parivar organisations on organising the Sabarimala Bhakta Sangamam (devotees’ meet) in the capital does not seem to annoy the Left Democratic Front (LDF), especially the CPI(M) and the CPI that have already switched to campaign mode. The CPI(M) has already conducted a workshop for its State leaders and for those down the line to activate its election machinery at the grassroots-level. Following the expansion of the front, the focus is on including their representatives in committees at all levels and organising family get-togethers where leaders are explaining the government’s welfare initiatives and its stance on the Sabarimala and allied issues.
Wresting space in the political arena that is being dominated by the LDF and the UDF is a tall challenge for the BJP, but the leadership hopes to break the ground primarily on the strength of the Sabarimala agitation. Whether the turnout at the protests organised by the Parivar would translate into votes is what keeps the parties and fronts guessing.