The opposition Congress in Kerala on Sunday attacked the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Sabarimala issue, saying people would not tolerate the 'drama' being played by the saffron party in the name of Lord Ayyappa and that the devotees have been "cheated".
Hitting out at Modi and the BJP, AICC General Secretary (Organisation) K C Venugopal alleged that the party had "cheated" the devotees and "are sincere to Sabarimala only when it comes to election and voting".
The senior Congress leader alleged that the Centre and the state were hand-in-glove for having worsened the Sabarimala issue.
"Why is the Prime Minister playing a drama over Sabarimala? I had brought up the matter in Parliament on January 4. I had sought legislative intervention to protect the rights of the believers.
Has the Prime Minister or his minister ever uttered a single word on the issue in Parliament?," Venugopal asked.
Recalling that the NDA had brought forward an ordinance to validate the lapsed Bill on Triple Talaq, he sought to know why the same enthusiasm was lacking in the case of Sabarimala.
"An ordinance would have been enough. The Centre could have intervened in the name of faith. But they didn't.
Modi said his party and government will approach the Supreme Court, explaining the traditions of Sabarimala. They could've have done this long ago. But they didn't.
People will tolerate all kinds of drama, but using the name of Swami Ayyappa for election drama is beyond limits, " Venugopal said at a meet the press programme here.
The Congress has officially asked in Parliament for legislative intervention on the Sabarimala matter, he said. Attacking the Left government in the state, he said it could have sought time to implement the Supreme Court verdict, but did not do so.
"The RSS/sangh parivar tried to disrupt the peace an tranquillity at the hilltop shrine. Sincere devotees were denied their right to pray.
Both the state and the centre governments were hand-in-glove in making the situation worsen.
Both the governments were responsible for worsening the Sabarimala issue," Venugopal alleged.
Venugopal said the AICC decision to appoint a special observer in Thiruvananthapuram was to monitor the poll activities in the major constituencies.
Senior leader Nana Patole has been appointed as observer in Thiruvananthapuram constituency, where the high profile candidate Shashi Tharoor is contesting for the party.
Referring to certain media reports that Tharoor had complained to AICC about local level leaders not campaigning for him in the constituency, Venugopal said "Those were just rumours.
Tharoor has never given any complaint. The whole country knows the Parliamentary intervention of Tharoor.
Who else is there to compete with the stature of Tharoor in Thiruvananthapuram ?," Venugopal asked.
The observers were appointed as the BJP was using all its machinery to fight this poll.
Referring to a purported video clipping of two SPG men carrying two big boxes into a car which was not part of the Prime Minister's convoy at Chitradurga in Karnataka, which had gone viral, Venugopal said the party had complained to the Election Commission.
"So the BJP thinks they can capture the seat from us. We decided to fight back and appointed observers," he said.
Venugopal also raked up the issue of the alleged fake degreeof union Minister Smriti Irani, who is contesting against Congress chief Rahul Gandhi in Amethi, and said she had given four different statements in four elections.
"In 2004, she says she passed BA.In 2009, it became B.Com from Delhi university. Another one in 2014. Now, in 2019 she says she has not passed B.Com. What credibility does that candidate have ?," Venugopal asked.
Those who allege that Rahul Gandhi ran away from Amethi have fielded someone with a fake degree.
"Four times, four statements. What credibility does she have? You are giving the affidavit on your own educational qualification," Venugopal said.